Campaign Advice Needed PLEASE

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I am hoping for some campaign advice. I will strat with the short version and then give the more in depth version:

TLDR Version: The party is headed to a creation forge in the Mournland following a group of Daask members and will have their first glimpse of the gangs' Droaam/Daughter's of Sora Kell connections. I need advice on how to do this and where to go next.

Detailed Version: The party began in Sharn as a group of private investigators that have connections to a larger organization (C.L.O.U.D.) with the intent of uncovering corruption in the city watch, especially related to a current feud between the two criminal outfits: Boromar and Daask.

This was the basic plotline given to the players before starting the campaign. Also, during the first session, the PCs found an immensely powerful dragonshard on a changline corpse that fell out of the sky (it is Sharn, right?).

Since then, the party has uncovered and thwarted numerous drug/extortion/money laundering/etc. related dealings between both gangs and the Watch. Meanwhile, there has been another shades of gray type NPC involved in just about everything that the party is unsure whether to trust. Her persona is built around the Scarlett Jax npc concept that was put out a while ago.

They also completed the Forbidden Forge adventure and took control of a creation forge in the Mournlands. The PCs returned the said NPCs to the Citadel and the NPCs informed the Citadel of what took place. The PCs returned to Sharn and decided to take out the two big drug warehouses in Sharn that belong to Daask (I have been playing them as the up and coming violent types with little ethics and control - as opposed to the Boromar Clan being more controlled and mob-like). Both Scarlett and the PC's Watch connection both tipped off the party to a day/time when one warehouse would be relatively unguarded and the PCs took the bait. When they were burning down the warehouse, the Daask members were out burning down their homes, businesses and tavern hangout. The party retaliated by going to hit the second warehouse even harder/more publicly (and the more saddistic member hunted down some Daask family members).

While this was all taking place, the Daask members found out about the forge and headed there. The party figured this out, notified Jorlanna d'Cannith about the whole thing, and headed after them.

That is where we currently are. I am thinking that the party will have a big Daask-PC showdown with an appearance by Sora Katra  in a ruined Mournland town just outside of where the forge is located while Cannith swings in and takes the forge for themselves. 

My question to you guys is how do I play up the Daask confrontation and where do I head from here. Also, how do I connect Scarlett Jax to this in a way that it comes across as a double (or triple) cross?

Some ideas/concerns:

  • Scarlett sold the info to Daask for both the immediate monetary gain and also the monetary/power gain that could be had from informing Cannith (I could use some ideas on how to flesh this out).

  • What role does the Citadel play? Clan Boromar?

The PCs are currently 9th level and could hit 10th after the Daask showdown.
Lol I really want to help you, but I'm unfamiliar with both the Forbidden Forge adventure (although I can assume a lot  from what you said), and the Scarlett character.

As far as Citadel/Breland:  There's a lot of reason why they'd be interested.  They might want the forge for themselves for leverage over Cannith (all the forges were to be destroyed, dismantled, etc...), build their own army, etc... 

You said before the party was uncovering criminal activities 'between both gangs and the Watch'.  I'm a little confused by this, was the Watch involved in the criminal activities or they worked with the party to put an end to them.  If they WERE involved in the criminal activities than that's another reason that many in Breland would be interested in the party's actions.

You seemed to playdown the Boromar gang by talking more about the Daask and how the Daask gang seems to be the main antagonist.  So I'm wondering if you are planning maybe Boromar helping the party?  If not that could be something of interest.

To me, I like to find out the 'end game'.  WHERE does the adventure 'end'.  For example, is the showdown at the forge the end of it and you're trying to tie up loose plot holes (like why Scarlett betrays the party), or is there more to the adventure?  If there's more after the showdown then you have an endless rope to tie things together.  Maybe Scarlett in her ambitions is working for Breland (and I harp back to my previous interests Breland has in the party), maybe Scarlett works for Sora Katra.  But again, I'm limited in knowing nothing of the character lol.

Sora Katra:  Again, 'storyline'.  Why did you involve them?  Do you want the party to eventually go to Drooam?  Are you just winging it? etc...    Sora Katra is 'rumored' to be behind Daask.  That doesn't mean it's true!  It's up to you! Maybe she's a patsy and the rumor is made up by the Phiarlan's or Thuranni's, or maybe it's TRUE.  So, WHY?  

Well Sora is a shapeshifting mastermind.  Maybe she just wants money, finances, connections, etc... and this is why she is involved in a gang.  This is very possible and simple.  Daask is an up and coming gang; money, assassins, power, etc... It could just be that simple and you're shutting down her operations, she's pissed.  Or you could create your own agenda, maybe she's working for Breland (again, above intentions), permenantly or temporarily.  She commands a lot of goblins and trolls and such, maybe a forge is just what she needs to create some warforged for her forces and/or weapons.  OR, information.  Again IDK much about the Forbidden Forge, your party controls it from what I understood, and they do so with permission from Cannith?  IDK if the rest of the world allows it, or not.  So again, leverage over Cannith could be a motivation this time for Sora instead of Breland.

I hope this helps, I'm sorry IDK much about some of the things you mentioned.  I look forward to some more information so I could maybe be more helpful Undecided     
I am short on time right now, but I wanted to say thanks for the response and also to clear up a few things:

  • Scarlett Jax is basically portrayed as a leader of a local gang that she identifies simply as her "Boys." I like the idea of her identifying hereself as in it for the money, but accidentally doing what is right fairly often. She has saved the party in a few different ways, but has also done things to hinder them. Almost all of which has been indirectly. Think Sophie from Leverage combined with Jack Sparrow.

  • The forge was discovered by the party and cleared out of baddies, so it is in their "possession" but really they have not officially laid claim to it in any way. A number of organizations know of the forge's location now and that it is in current working order, but not currently creating anything. This means the Citadel, House Cannith, Scarlett Jax, Daask, and the connection at the Sharn City Watch are the minimum of who currently know and could potentially want for themselves in one way or another. That isn't even considering any information leaks.

  • The Sharn City Watch has been being played up as being fairly corrupt (think Gotham City Police) with one legit connection, Detective Breven Martell (think Detective Gordon prior to becoming comissioner). The party has witnessed some Watch members being apart of drug deals, storage of stolen valuables - varying from gems and shards to artwork and alcohol, even murder in dark alleys. 

Some big picture goals I have had are:

  • The party cleans up the Watch and possibly helps in the Detective taking over in order to facilitate the clean-up.

  • Scarlett ends up being a hero in some big way.

Some things I have struggled with:

  • I had not made the big, end of the game goal due to wanting the party to help drive the campaign. Should I implement this and if so what are some ideas?

  • The dragonshard they have has been played up as an evil artifact that causes thoughts of murder and suicide in the worst ways, so they keep it tucked away in a bag of holding at all times. I would love some ideas on how to incorporate this into both small and picture campaign goals. The Changling that it was found on was known to be connected to the drug smuggling as a politician/diplomat helping with documentation and storage facilities.

I don't think its a good idea to have the Daughters of Sora Kell come out this "early" in the metaplot. They're spec'ed as level 22 (4e) and level 12 (i think? in 3e), so you have some life left on them.

My question, though, is who does this Jax type work for? What's the metaplot? Why are things happening the way they're happening?

If you're in The Shadow of Thronehold, do not read the spoiler block!
In my campaign, I've changed it so that all of the raksashas, except one, were imprisoned in the Coutals. The one remaning raksasha is operating with a piece of the Prophecy that stipulates that only mortal magic can undo the bindings of the Coutals. So, this sole remaining Raksasha is responsible for....everything. The Quori invasion that lead to the unleashing of apocalyptic magics? Yes. The Giant civil war that almost resulted in the same? Yes. The Elf-Dragon Wars? Mmmhmmm. The Daelkyr invasion? It was a long shot, but why not give it a try? The fall of the Dhakaani empire, the fall of that Dragonborn empire in Q'Barra, the War of the Mark, and even the Mourning are all the result of the raksasha. So, now I have a horribly convoluted plot which I've managed to tie into the backstories of several of my characters.

However, I have an end goal by the big bad (restart the Last War in the hopes to spur magical research which can be directed towards the same sort of ends as the Cyrean defense system that caused the Mourning, but rather than destroying everything, release the Rajahs), means to get to it, reasons to do so, and so on.

So, why are things happening? What is the end goal for the Daughters? Hell, are they the real movers and shakers here? Or are they just trying to protect Khorvaire from a more dire threat?

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling


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57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
Being a 4e game, I completely agree that it is WAY early for the party to have any combat interaction with any of the Daughters. I was alluding to this being more of a show of power and control. Or do you think that revealing something like that ten or so levels before fighting them is too early?

The metaplot is the part I am struggling with. I have quite a few mini-plot lines and they seem to all connecting to the forge in some way. I think that I have let the party take me in various directions as we go and focused too much on a small-picture world. Most of your questions would be much easier to answer with the big-picture world in mind (as you allude to with your own plotline).

One possibility is that the Daughters are tied to a Prophecy that involves the extremely powerful dragonshard and the forge. Some big-picture ideas are needed, then connecting them with sub-plots becomes much easier (Jax's role, for instance).

I am hoping to flesh out some better ideas on where to head with the campaign in the end so that I may be able to go back and throw in all the connecting pieces along the way.  
I like where you're going.  You have a lot of good ideas here and you just want to tie them up.  Bringing Sora Kell in too early could be a problem, if you won't fight them.  But depending on how fast your party could level up, how often the sessions are, etc... I mean it could work.  I like the idea of an 'unknown' enmey popping up surprising your party in the showdown to come at the Forge but you don't have to reveal who or what they are you know?  Hell, maybe just have a couple semi-intelligent trolls show up IDK.

I like the possibility too of the dragonshard and the Prophecy.  Maybe the dragonshard is needed to work the forge.  But how it's powers could relate to that (or the story) IDK.  Maybe the shard can emit energy (through a device, like an eldritch machine) to cause masses of people to go crazy, want to kill and commit suicide.  But that to me doesn't seem to tie into Sora Kell.  Although maybe Daask because they could use it to maybe try and take over another gang, or leverage the city?

Jax's role could be a bit of an enterpriser lol.  Maybe just doing things for money at first, but slowly gets attached the party and that could be the motivation for helping them instead of hindering them more often.  What race is Jax?  Maybe tie them to a Dragonmarked House?         
With Sora Kell being a shapeshifter, she could in theory already have been interracting with the party (Scarlett Jax? Detective Breven? Random barkeep? Cannith connections? NPCs 'saved' from the forge?etc.). That could be something I add in once I figure out the big plot.

One shard to rule them all? I kind of like it. What about the shard actually being tied to the Mourning in some way? The side effects of the Mournland fit. Now, why would Sora Kell want this power? How would the Prophecy point her in this direction? I am running with the idea that Sora Kell is the nameless person behind Daask, so raising them to power means good things for the Daughters, but what do they want to do with this power?

Scarlett Jax is a red-headed elf that is charismatic and prefers to have her "boys" do her dirty work for her, but is by far capable with a rapier and with stealth/agility (even moreso than her gang, possibly). I could possibly tie to her a dragonmarked house, and I thought of this earlier on, but I feared that this could limit where I could head with her plotline(s). Also, she grew up as an orphan on the streets with one of the PCs. The two of them actually created "the boys" gang before the PC took the fall for a crime she didn't commit and when the PC returned, the gang was even less morale than before. This is something that hasn't been really developed, but was apart of character creation (everyone has been directly effected by the Sharn Watch being corrupt in some way). Scarlett is something of a wildcard to most of the PCs, but despised by one (she has eternal chalk and has put graffiti around the city along the lines of "contact Scarlett Jax for a good time", etc). This connection is something Scarlett toys with often, but is honestly a major reason I want her as a good guy. It is too easy to make her the bad guy and doing that doesn't feel like a great Eberron-esque way to do things. I think Scarlett follows the money to the end and then at the last possible moment, her morales and ethics take over and she does the right thing. All the while, she sneaks in ways to help people while making it seem like it is not on purpose.
I don't have time to consider this fully and give a deep answer right now, but I will say that personally, I'd definitely take advantage of Sora Katra's shapeshifting and have her interacting with the players in some way, whether as Scarlett or someone else. You might say "But Katra clearly doesn't have the time to be present in all the scenes Scarlett (or whoever) appears." Probably true. But Katra can teleport (she's an accomplished ritual caster), and she's allied with a domain of doppelgangers... so "Scarlett" could actually be more than one person.

Why? What's her motivation? Well, her sister is one of the greatest oracles of the age. As such, you get some of the same possibilities as I've suggested in the past for using the Lords of Dust or the Chamber... she's not interested in the players for who they are now, but rather who they will be. Daask and Droaam itself could easily be the means to that greater end; she's less interested in nation-building than in bringing her long-lost mother back from planar exile, and she knows that when they are properly seasoned the PCs will be the ones that make this happen. But first they have to undergo their own trials. As noted in the Chamber article, the advantage to tying it to Prophecy is explaining why this very powerful character can't either defeat the players (if an enemy) or defeat their enemies (if an ally) - to meet the terms of the Prophecy, she has to let them win or lose on their own.

Anyhow, that's all I have time for, but I hope it helps in some way.
I am honored to have you giving me advice. Sora Katra's shapeshifting ability lends itself very well to be used here and I am sold on using her as some of the NPC interactions that have already taken place/will take place. I could use some ideas on how to let the party in on this over time, though. "Scarlett" not really being one person is intriguing, but honestly I am more tempted to have it be Detective Breven. Infiltration of a corrupt system as a beacon of light and right seems to be riddled with flavor possibilities for this.

I really need to sit down and work my way backwards from the big idea of freeing their mother (this is exactly what I was looking for by the way. Thank you!) in order to make some decent Prophecy points that can come true and also some plot hooks to keep the party going along the way. This even gives potential for the PCs to possibly deciding to side with the Daughters - if they can be convincing enough. Even if they don't do it intentionally, the Prophecy coming true could be their fault, as you say.

I greatly appreciate you taking you time to post a response and welcome any further advice you would ever like to give. 
What I like about having some form of rescuing Sora Kell as a goal is that at the end, it's about daughters trying to rescue their mother. Yes, they're half-fiend hags, leaders of a nation of monsters, and Sora Kell is a legendary terror - but you've got to have some sympathy for children trying to find their mom.

As a note, by canon Sora Kell's current location and status is completely unknown. As far as I know, the only canon information given about her is here.
The mother-saving plot is nice. Definitely one that will through my group into contemplation (hoping especially the warlock that has a fiend intrigue going). Thanks for that link. I will look over it in further detail this weekend. I don't have much time during this busy week...only a few minutes to spare here and there.

Now to see what ideas all of you fine folks have about what to have players running around and doing during this Paragon-tier build-up to saving Sora Kell... 
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