So am I to understand the story will continue with P1? I would like to see more conversions the backstories are awesome and it makes more sense. I am excited I got E3 and you do fight Orcus at the end EPIC!!Anyways my 2 cents for what its worth.
So am I to understand the story will continue with P1? I would like to see more conversions the backstories are awesome and it makes more sense. I am excited I got E3 and you do fight Orcus at the end EPIC!!
Anyways my 2 cents for what its worth.
I will at least try to get P1 to P3 to work together better with the backstory I have created. Will see about E1 to E3, they are actually quite well integrated as they are, but maybe certain areas could be filled out more? I have not looked at them in great detail yet.
I wouldn't touch E1-E3. They're perfectly fine as is. That story doesn't need any tampering.
As for P1-P3, all they need is a little fine tuning. The adventures themselves are pretty solid. My thoughts:
P1: Definitely needs a hook back to H1-H3. It needs to feel like the Heroic Tier was a setup to this new journey. I think what you've done with tying in Karavakos and using Vyrellis to kickstart the campaign is great.
P2: Not much needs to be changed here as well. We've already got the callback to H2 with the inclusion of Orontor, and you've already seeded Drow Emissaries during H2 itself. The Hook of having the Mages of Saruun request the party's help is sufficient. This doesn't need to be touched at all.
P3: The Hook for this adventure blows. Who's this hero guy and why do we care that he can't be raised? That needs to be completely reworked. The soul that is being raised needs to be somebody more connected to the party.
And then, like I mentioned, I wouldn't touch the Epic tier at all.
P1: Prologue to P1 Conversion Guide
I have just started with the P1 Orcus Conversion Guide. Started with the prologue, now involving the Raven Queen as she will start to play a more central role in the storyline. Took some phrases from the old sumerian tablets describing the journey of Ishtar to the underworld, meeting Ereshkigal (which have some similarities with the Raven Queen www.gatewaystobabylon.com/myths/texts/cl...
I also provided a glimpse of Etherans quest from his grandfather before setting out to find the troll king Skalmad. Here I also wanted to use a small part from the famous poem "The Raven" of Edgar Allan Poewww.ravens.org/ravpoem/ravpoem.htm
PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN HERE - DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY PLAYING THE ADVENTURES
H1 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen... H2 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen... H3 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen...P1 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen...
I you want to read our game chronicles you may find them at: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/index.h...
Ran the Ambush/Chase encounter tonight. It took our entire session. but went over pretty well.
I ran it without a map and without initiative. The maps were unnecessary since they weren't going to be in any given room more than a round or two. And I left initiative behind so that I could be flexible with timing and other things to get the proper suspense.
Most of the escape routes and tricks they were able to get themselves without even needing insight checks, which was awesome. The drawbridge, bell tower (including dropping the bell), gargoyles, bookcases to block the library door, lamp oil in the storeroom... all of these they immediately figured out themselves, which was great. I gave them insight checks for the tapestries over the hole and the trolley for the dining room windows, as those ones didn't occur to them.
They realized pretty early, though, that I was simply contriving the timing of dragon appearances and gnolls breaking down doors to maximize dramatic tension, but they didn't metagame that at all. They still hurried through with the proper sense of urgency.
One glaring problem (which I had thought would happen, and in fact did) came up, though. The clues in the servants quarters and kitchen that lead to the detonator were completely ignored. But of course they were. They're being chased through a keep... who has time to stop and read a book? They found them and grabbed them, but it never occurred to them to read them at the time; they were far too busy trying to get to safety. Frankly, I don't know what party would read them in the middle of all that. But once they got through to the final room (and had basically beat the encounter) I nudged them to read them just so we could have the Hollywood ending.
Post-session evaluation, though, they said the encounter was a lot of fun, and definitely a change of pace. It was also fun when I had Terrien Darkseeker (the guy Harwin impersonated) sitting in the Halfmoon Inn when they got back. That was an interesting exchange as they interrogated him (he of course had no clue what they were talking about).
So, my evaluations of those four new encounters, with a suggestion or two for those who haven't played those yet:
Shores of Shadow: Runs really well as presented, but be aware that this encounter is heavily dependent on radiant damage. Insubstantiality and the wraith aura are really potent. Probably need to soften it up for a non-divine party.
Watchtower: Failing this skill challenge leads to a remarkably tough encounter. Make sure you give the proper cues to get the party to realize they need to negotiate. My party clued in to the word "riftbreaker" right away, but didn't clue in to the "Raven Queen" reference at all. Make sure they get inisght/religion checks for these, even if they don't think of them themselves.
Shadow Vortex: The wraiths are really really hard to hit. Expect it, as written, to simply be an encounter with the dragon in a very confined space. Potential frustration to a party reliant on mobility and tactics. And the interaction between the wraiths and mages is better just described in narrative rather than played out since the party is so ineffectual against them. And they won't be bothering with this while the dragon is flittering about.
Ambush: Don't bother with many of the specific tactical mechanics here. Initiative isn't important, exact movement counts aren't important. Just wing it "old school". If you've never played D&D 2.0 or earlier, this will be a little foreign to you. This encounter is far more about just creating an exciting chase. If the party is taking too long in one place, have a few gnolls or the dragon appear on the scene to increase urgency. If the party is already playing with urgency, then don't overwhelm them. Approach this with more the ambience of a skill challenge than a combat encounter (even though they should get attacked here and there to properly scare them). And be prepared for the ending to fall apart, since the clues as written for the detonators are not given anywhere near the level of urgency as the rest of the situation.
Our group will be in the Well of Demons for a while, so we won't get to more of your stuff for a bit. Looking forward to the Kalarel reunion, though, and the revised final dungeon.
H3: Tying the winter eladrin to Vyrellis background
Great idea Antra. Muchos gracias! (or however it is spelled) Excellent tie in. Had not thought about that one. Then the eladrin kingdom of Celduilon could then be a land of winter! Ties well into the Raven Queen background as well - Me Like! I have added this background into H3 page 24, as well as an update of the "D1: Hall of Blizzards" encounter on page 27. This would allow the character to learn the true background of Vyrellis already in H3 if the players is smart enough to catch the hint. However, a cunny DM can probably roleplay Vyrellis quite well, playing out here innocense to the fullest. My players will hate discovering her betrayal later :-) I was also asked to put up all maps I have done in a RAR file, which you now find below (11.4 MB).PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN HERE - DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY PLAYING THE ADVENTURES
H1 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen... H2 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen... H3 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen...P1 Conversion Guide: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen...Conversion Guide Maps: web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documen...
Hey, Myrhdraak!I´ve finally read both P1 and the new conversion you did. Awesome, as always! Here are a few suggestions:1) The Winter Eladrins in the Pyramid of Shadows could be part of Vyrellis former entourage, what do you think? I have a hard time picturing a fey princess coming to Karavakos castle all by herself. I believe she would have several servants, some trustworthy and some not so much. Perhaps they allied with the Dragon in exchange for protection against Karavakos when they all got imprisoned in the Pyramid.2) Don´t you think that Vyrellis should portrayed a bit more "evil"? When I think about her, I think of a spoiled, egomaniac princess who joined a Demon-worshipping Tiefling and manipulated him into invading her own kingdom. In order to achieve her goals, she even became his wife turning her back on her father and her race. I somehow can´t see her worried about her former kingdom, or her father. Perhaps she could say that to the adventurers, but in reality she sees all this as just a big opportunity for a coup to take over her father´s throne and control over Eltharion. What do you think?3) What happens when the characters arrive in Moonstair with Vyrellis head? Do you plan on creating a scene where Vyrellis meets her father? How does Rualiss react when he sees her? Do the head keep following them while they move through the adventure? I´d love to see what you plan for this.4) What do you plan for Karavakos? If he actually escaped the Pyramid, where do you think he´s gone and when does he show up again (in which adventure)? Maybe he could appear way ahead, in P3 maybe?5) If you decide to go with the coup idea for Vyrellis, perhaps she would flee once her plans fail, joining the drow negotiators in P1 or allying herself with the fomorian, who would later take her to Phaervorul and join Zirithian and the cult of Orcus in P2 (changing her from false ally to as actual villain). What do you think?Well, these are just a couple of ideas. I´d love to see what you´re planning and what you think about these suggestions. Keep up the great work! Cheers!
P1: New Background and Adventure Synopsis
Family is away, so finally I get a chance to do some serious writing Have updated the background of P1 as well as the Adventure Synopsis, tying it together with P2 in what I think will be a cool and memorable way. I also had to change some wording to the court scene in the Prologue as it now have to mirror an eladrin winter world.PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN HERE - DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY PLAYING THE ADVENTURES
P1: New P1 Hook and Map
I changed the hook of P1 making it more natural to tie it to Vyrellis (Page 5). I also brought together the Trollhaunt map with the Nentir Vale (securing the right scale of both)PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN HERE - DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY PLAYING THE ADVENTURES
P1: Hag in the Fens EncounterI have added the first new encounter as the adventureres travel through the Witchlight Fens. They might also hear a prophecy if the spare the hag her life (Page 6-7). Will add a map later.PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN HERE - DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY PLAYING THE ADVENTURES
Hey, Swithers! Thanks for the feedback!I had plans of revealing Holchwier plot later on in the E series, but you are absolutely right: it IS a bit too much.I´m glad you like the idea of replacing Thrullzon with Holchwier. I really didn´t see much sense in having two Exarchs doing the same thing, since it would only confuse the players. The only question that remains is: who killed Holchwier? Arantham at their secret meeting in the Ashen Covenant? Or the drow, while defending Phaervorul? Maybe it was Arantahm and that was exactly what the drow needed to seal the rift, but then again, this may fall into the "DM information" category.Personally, I still need a better link between P1 and P2. Even though the plots tie in nicely, I love the way Myrhdraak linked everything together, with H1 leading to H2 through the Bloodreavers and H3 coming after with the Pyramid appearing over Fallcrest. I´d love to see such a connection to P2, but let´s see what he has in mind for the ending in P1. I love P1, but I think it misses great opportunities (such as a scene in Ceidullion or in Therund), leaving that responsability for the DM.Anyway, thanks a lot for the feedback!
Hey, Swithers! Thanks for the feedback!I had plans of revealing Holchwier plot later on in the E series, but you are absolutely right: it IS a bit too much.I´m glad you like the idea of replacing Thrullzon with Holchwier. I really didn´t see much sense in having two Exarchs doing the same thing, since it would only confuse the players. The only question that remains is: who killed Holchwier? Arantham at their secret meeting in the Ashen Covenant? Or the drow, while defending Phaervorul? Maybe it was Arantahm and that was exactly what the drow needed to seal the rift, but then again, this may fall into the "DM information" category.Personally, I still need a better link between P1 and P2. Even though the plots tie in nicely, I love the way Myrhdraak linked everything together, with H1 leading to H2 through the Bloodreavers and H3 coming after with the Pyramid appearing over Fallcrest. I´d love to see such a connection to P2, but let´s see what he has in mind for the ending in P1. I love P1, but I think it misses great opportunities (such as a scene in Ceidullion or in Therund), leaving that responsability for the DM.Anyway, thanks a lot for the feedback! I know its been awhile but I'm starting on H3 and I really like the ideas you guys have going. To kind of tie this back to the Rod of Ruin and Myrhdraak's idea of it being a central plot point, going with your descussion i've been thinking of having it infused with the spirit of Holchwier instead of Thrullzon. That is what happened when Arantham meet with Holchwier behind closed doors. At the direction of Orcus, Arantham trapped Holchwier into the Rod and placed a geas on it to serve Orcus will making Holchwier a better servant of Orcus as a vessel of his power instead of a exarch or something to that effect.Its just a thought so it can merge back with what Myrhdraak's got going on.Great ideas though. Keep it up guys!Oh yeah, Happy New Year!
P1: Celduilon Background MaterialI have put some effort into creating a good background story for Celduilon were I want to add more flavor to P1 - making P1 a memorable experience from the Feywild. I have stolen a lot of material from Dragon #366 “Mithrendain Feywild Citadel” and Dungeon #157 “Dark Heart of Mithrendain”, trying to give it a winter eladrin flavor as well as building a thicker plotline and background story on the councilors of Celduilon using some old Birthright material as inspiration (a great setting by the way). Hope you will enjoy it. (Page 8-20)
Hey, Myrhdraak!Great work, as usual, man! I´m glad you liked the idea for the Winter Eladrin! I´ve been reading further into the adventures and I may have come to a way to link them all. Specifically, to link P2 and P3 into the rest of the series.The plans for Orcus to overthrow the Raven Queen aren´t new. As a matter of fact, they began two millenia ago. To mortals, two millenia may seem much, but we´re dealing with Orcus here, and the Prince of Undeath is not a servant of time as we know it. The plans to take over the Raven Queen´s place were not devised by Orcus himself, but by Holchwier - a very smart and ambitious glabrezu who aspired to take the Raven Queen´s place himself. But Holchwier is not a fool and he knew he had no power to do it himself, so he brought the idea to Orcus. The Prince of Undeath loved the idea and made Holchwier his exarch, "blessing" him with undeath (this was Holchwier´s first step of HIS plan; unknown to Orcus, he just gained the power to live forever and could wait until it was HIS time to rule as god of death).Holchwier created a place for himself in the Shadowfell called The Rotting Throne (I´m replacing Thrullzon for Holchwier in P2 here). There, he began to put his plan in motion to rise Orcus to a greater power (which he planned to steal later on). The first thing he did was find a young Tiefling warlock named Karavakos and proposed a bargain in the name of Orcus. At the same time, he started tempting a very devout priest of Bahamut named Arantham to the powerful will of Orcus.Arantham´s mission was to found a cult dedicated to Orcus (called the Ashen Covenant) and find spots where the layer between the material world and the Shadowfell were thin enough to open a portal. Six spots were found by Arantham: one near the Cairngorns, one under Thunderspire Mountain, one in the Underdark near a settlement called Phaervorul, one in a cave complex near Vaester and one under a monastery of the Raven Queen led by a priest named Sartine.By stablishing dark orbs in each of these places, the whole barrier that separated the world of the Shadowfell would weaken and it would allow Orcus himself to enter the material plane (and, unknwon to all, would act as a net that would imprison Orcus and transfer all of his power to Holchwier). Each dark orb placed would allow the armies of undeath into the world to prepare it for the coming of Orcus. The first place which breached the barrier was the Rotting Throne, led by Holchwier himself. The second place was the Cairngorns one, led by Karavakos. Arantham was sent to uncover the Sea of Shadows under Thunderspire Mountain, but he started to suspect Holchwier´s intentions regarding Orcus and the plans to overtake the Raven Queen, so he went to Sartine´s temple, murdered her and went into the Shadowfell to tell Orcus of his suspicions. An irated Orcus turned Arantham into a huecuva and ordered him to murder Holchwier and take over the Ashen Covenant and a place as Exarch. But Holchwier had foreseen this, and confronted Arantham about his betrayal. When the leader of the Ashen Covenant and the glaabrezu entered a private chamber, Holchwier used a Fomorian artifact to trade minds with Arantham, slaying his former body and pretending to be Arantham.Arantham (actually Holchwier), filled with undead powers from Orcus, claimed a new servant with promises of eternal life, Zirithian and demanded him to reopen the rift between Phaervorul and the Rotting Throne. At the same time, Arantham showed Orcus about a Shadow Dragon called Urishtar and suggested that he started temting the dragon in her dreams. Led by Orcus´whispers, Urishtar built a larger version of the Stone Cauldron, an ancient fomorian device, in her fortress and stared harnessing the power of souls into it...Is that too complex? Or too confusing? I just wrote this from the top of my head, but my intention is to get a discussion going and throwing ideas at you. I can try and organize it better, but I´d love to see what you think. Is that too far-fetched?I also wanted to link the Ashen Covenant story, published in Dragon Magazine 364, to the whole storyline.Anyway, just keep up the great work! Oh, and I´d love if you included a Ceidullion scene in P1! Cheers,MarcioThe Antra
P1: Meeting EtheranFinally got some time to write. Have just come back from Thailand and after getting some of the stuff in the new apartment in place I finally got some few hours to write - so here is my latest contribution.The players meet Etheran in the Cloudwatch Inn and the eladrin soon senses the presence of the Head of Vyrellis. A fight start, but the players may end it and hear what Etheran have to say about Vyrellis instead (if they play their cards right). [Page 8-10]
P1: Meeting EtheranAdded the part were Etheran tells the party the true background and nature of Vyrellis, as well as providing them with a hook to deliver it to the King of Celduilon. [Page 10-11]