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Crasical
2011-04-05, 09:34 PM
Hi, all. I'm finally manning up to run a 4e campaign for my group, with the tone based around the Castlevania series of video games. The players will be heroes either touched by the shadow or bearing a bright light into the depths of a tainted land, fighting monsters that have risen with the resurrection of the king of evil, eventually making their way to Castlevania and slaying Dracula.

I think I've managed to get most of my group excited about the upcoming games, but I could use some help, to be honest. The game will be run online via chat and Maptool, but I'm not sure of myself. Do any of you want to volunteer resources that you find useful when running 4e online? Questions or comments about what I'm trying to do? Monsters or traps from the games that you think deserve homage in the tabletop game?

A more directed question as well: The current party consists of a Shaman, a Fighter, and one undecided player who will likely be a Striker of some sort. Do you think this party of 3 will do fine? Or should I do as they've requested and create a DMPC Controller to accompany them?

WitchSlayer
2011-04-05, 09:44 PM
Should be fine if you balance it around 3 players.

Amnestic
2011-04-05, 11:23 PM
Monsters:

Medusa Heads.
Death, obviously.
A whole lot of undead, vampires are an obvious a big one.
Demons and devils of all variety, with a few Celestial types (Valkyries?) thrown in for good measure.
Constructs will play a big part.
Animated objects. Tables, candelabras, paintings and the like.
Werewolves
Minotaurs


Probably some others too, but those are pretty big ones off the top of my head.

Floor/wall spikes, pits of acid, rotating platforms....

Party of 3 should do fine.

Surrealistik
2011-04-05, 11:30 PM
With all the undead that'll be in the campaign, you'll probably want to have most areas feature some sort of 'unhallowed' effect that somehow impedes or diminishes radiant damage and anti-undead effects, so they don't completely dominate huge swaths of your module.

WitchSlayer
2011-04-06, 02:09 AM
Also you may want to houserule some whip style weapons or make whips stronger if you want someone to find the vampire killer. Also if someone specializes in whips there's the multiclass whip feat chain that's pretty fun.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-06, 03:24 AM
A more directed question as well: The current party consists of a Shaman, a Fighter, and one undecided player who will likely be a Striker of some sort. Do you think this party of 3 will do fine?
Yes, they will do fine. The most important part is that they have a leader.

Crasical
2011-04-06, 03:40 AM
Thanks for all the replies!


Monsters:

Medusa Heads.
Death, obviously.
A whole lot of undead, vampires are an obvious a big one.
Demons and devils of all variety, with a few Celestial types (Valkyries?) thrown in for good measure.
Constructs will play a big part.
Animated objects. Tables, candelabras, paintings and the like.
Werewolves
Minotaurs


Yeeeeeesss. I need to find some way to represent medusa heads, but those will definitely be in. I've already got Goblins standing in for Fleamen.


With all the undead that'll be in the campaign, you'll probably want to have most areas feature some sort of 'unhallowed' effect that somehow impedes or diminishes radiant damage and anti-undead effects, so they don't completely dominate huge swaths of your module.

With a fighter, a Rogue/Ranger, and a Shaman, I think they won't be throwing around that much radiant to begin with. Plus, from the above list, there's pleny of constructs and lycanthropes to pad out the list with so it's not 100% undead.


Also you may want to houserule some whip style weapons or make whips stronger if you want someone to find the vampire killer. Also if someone specializes in whips there's the multiclass whip feat chain that's pretty fun.

Weirdly enough no-one wanted to play a Belmont. I still haven't decided where I want to go with that dangling plot thread, either having the line died out, sealed away, or what.

DeltaEmil
2011-04-06, 03:50 AM
Have a really old Belmont be the quest-giver, and the player characters are his "apprentice-vampire-slayers".

Crasical
2011-04-06, 03:53 AM
Have a really old Belmont be the quest-giver, and the player characters are his "apprentice-vampire-slayers".

That might be a neat idea... Everyone has their backstories mostly sorted, so he'd have to appear later, but having an old/crippled belmont as a quest-giver mentor could be very cool.

DeltaEmil
2011-04-06, 04:00 AM
To maximize a little bit of drama, you can have him/her later be killed (either while s/he tries to save the player characters or while s/he was abducted by Dracula's henchmonsters).

And then the Belmont returns as a boss-monster or something like that. The players must find a way to either save him/her (perhaps even reversing the monstrous curse) or must unfortunately destroy the last of the Belmont.

Amnestic
2011-04-06, 06:51 AM
Weirdly enough no-one wanted to play a Belmont. I still haven't decided where I want to go with that dangling plot thread, either having the line died out, sealed away, or what.

Both the Morris' got to wield the Vampire Killer despite not actually being Belmonts. Of course it has the minor side effect of killing them if they use it too much. It was something to do with no Belmonts being allowed to touch it until the Demon Castle War.

So there is precedent for non-Belmonts getting to run around with the ol' VK. Minor downsides of course :smalltongue:

Surrealistik
2011-04-06, 09:43 AM
With a fighter, a Rogue/Ranger, and a Shaman, I think they won't be throwing around that much radiant to begin with. Plus, from the above list, there's pleny of constructs and lycanthropes to pad out the list with so it's not 100% undead.

There are weapons that allow their attacks to do radiant type damage like the Sunblade and Radiant Weapon, and of course undead seem like they would be the predominant monster type in a Castlevania game; just something you should watch out for.

ninja_penguin
2011-04-07, 04:19 PM
Yeeeeeesss. I need to find some way to represent medusa heads, but those will definitely be in. I've already got Goblins standing in for Fleamen.

Flying minions with a petrify (save ends) effect. Should just roam on through or swerve to hit somebody, but otherwise just go flying on by.

Crasical
2011-04-07, 04:49 PM
Ninja Penguin, I like your avatar.

Have the first encounter set up, so once the werewolf player hands in his character I'll do a test run.

EDIT: I finally located the area for using NPCs as enemies in the DMG, and wanted to bring this up: If I want a witch that floats around on her broomstick and does bad things to the players, but flies away when defeated to be a recurring villain, is it more sensible to make her an NPC and just bump up her level whenever she reappears, so that I can pull this trick as often or as rarely as I want? Is it cheating the players to pull some tricks to ensure the villainess gets away for at least a few more go-rounds?

Vknight
2011-04-09, 11:15 PM
Depends. If done well its fair if done badly its cheap. Just think it through and plan the idea out and think what will my players do?

Also make the vampire killer have alternate forms. Wrapping it around your wrist like a gauntlet, using the end like a dagger, having it go ridgid like a sword or spear.

Here are other things to give it. Not all of them of course but some suggestions
Give it an additional 5-10ongoing radiant damage (That becomes 5-10untyped straight damage to radiant resistant monsters), it adds high crit, has reach outside the dagger form, can be thrown 4/8 or 6/12, +4damage verse undead creatures, +2 against dracula's servants (stacks with undead), drain 5+1d6 hp when used by non Belmont.

Give all the monsters a unified template call it Dracula's Servants.

Have fun and maybe make a character sheet for a Belmont just if one players character dies or a new person wishes to join.

NineThePuma
2011-04-09, 11:26 PM
Weirdly enough no-one wanted to play a Belmont. I still haven't decided where I want to go with that dangling plot thread, either having the line died out, sealed away, or what.

How about adding in a Belmont as roaming the castle, fighting dudes, so they encounter 'dead' encounters at various times, then pull a bait and switch boss later on, with them being all geared up to fight, say, Death in the Clock Tower, and then having the Belmont be sitting there, having just killed the guy. Naturally, he is not trusting of the 'mere humans' who just fought their way up and are all decked out for combat. Plus, there have been a NUMBER of humanoid servants of Dracula over the eons.

Then, if they kill him... >=3

Crasical
2011-04-10, 12:05 AM
That's unspeakably evil. I like it. *offers genuflections*

NineThePuma
2011-04-10, 12:08 AM
That's unspeakably evil. I like it. *offers genuflections*

I try. Not even all that hard, actually.

Crasical
2011-04-10, 12:43 AM
Also, talked with my group about the controller thing, mentioning that they probably will do fine with just a party of three, but they claim they really enjoyed my DMPCs in the past. I'm not really sure what to do here. I'm considering making a few DMPCs of various classes to show up where appropriate but not stick with the party for very long, so that I can bump up the XP budget for areas that need a few more enemies. Coming up with vague ideas for the various people they'll meet and ally with...

Swarm Druid (http://safebooru.org/index.php?page=post&s=view&id=354328): Queen of a brood of demon insects who is part of a monster rebellion that wants to kill dracula or reseal him so that they can avoid being suckered into being made his thralls by his power.

Invoker: Badass old man Who's been waiting for dracula to revive ever since he was last sealed.

Seeker: A Miko! Why is she in faux europe? I have no idea! Vague ideas of a 'shard of chaos' being chipped off of Castlevania and brought to Japan to make an Oni stronghold, and this seeker coming to investigate it.

Controller: Cute witch.

Still need an idea for a psion.

NineThePuma
2011-04-10, 12:55 AM
Seeker: A Miko! Why is she in faux europe? I have no idea! Vague ideas of a 'shard of chaos' being chipped off of Castlevania and brought to Japan to make an Oni stronghold, and this seeker coming to investigate it.

Ah! Don't forget! Soma Cruz, the Reincarnation of Dracula was Japanese. While I'm not familiar with the class, I think that a few nods would be amusing.

Amnestic
2011-04-10, 02:16 AM
I don't think Soma's actually (fully?) Japanese. He says in Aria of Sorrow that he's "studying abroad in Japan" which implies that he's from elsewhere. I don't think it's ever mentioned exactly where though.

NineThePuma
2011-04-10, 02:17 AM
He's also childhood friends with a japanese shrine maiden.

Pervading theory is that he moved away from japan at a relatively young age, and came back for edumacation.

Amnestic
2011-04-10, 02:46 AM
After looking into it, it seems that the "exchange student" aspect is only in the (English?) translated version. The original Japanese simply has him be a high school student, so I guess he is Japanese. *shrug* My mistake. Weird that the translators would throw something which needlessly convolutes his backstory in there.

NineThePuma
2011-04-10, 02:47 AM
His last name is apparently 'Cruz' which is, you know, spanish. Its ALREADY convoluted.

Vknight
2011-04-10, 07:35 AM
Could be thats were he went.
So he was born in Japan. Went to Spain and came back to Japan. In America
In Japan he was just born in Japan, with a Spanish last name.

I bet one of his parents was spanish.


Again I suggest a unified Template or groups of powers that can be given to monsters to really show there Drac's servants.

These powers could be resisting things the monster normally does not resist.
Auras for eliltes and solos. A new attacks or move actions.
Ex. Draining Attack that heals the monster or a domination attack
Ex. Monster can go through cracks or fly a short distance

Maybe give them control of vermin and fangs for bite attacks. Increase damage of melee attack by a point or 2.

Crasical
2011-04-11, 02:58 PM
Again I suggest a unified Template or groups of powers that can be given to monsters to really show there Drac's servants.

These powers could be resisting things the monster normally does not resist.
Auras for eliltes and solos. A new attacks or move actions.
Ex. Draining Attack that heals the monster or a domination attack
Ex. Monster can go through cracks or fly a short distance

Maybe give them control of vermin and fangs for bite attacks. Increase damage of melee attack by a point or 2.

I dunno about that. It really turns everything into a vampire, which isn't really Castlevania-ish. Dracula's minions tend to stand on their own merits, or fall with them. Resisting radiant and necrotic might work, but the rest of it is a little too much. If I was to make this template, I'd want it to be very subtle.

Vknight
2011-04-11, 08:39 PM
Just giving some broad examples.

ninja_penguin
2011-04-11, 09:24 PM
I'd suggest some themes, like the DMG2 gives. Make up some general abilities that you can give to things. Or split themes up into various areas, like if your clockwork tower and garden stages have very different general ideas/abilities.

ELC
2011-04-11, 09:31 PM
I suggest including Wondrous Items that do allow the party (not just the individual) to do things such as double jump (or jump higher), walker on water, walk under water, fly, turn into mist, etc.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-12, 01:07 PM
Regional themes for the different areas is not a bad idea. Ditto Wondrous items.
Respawning enemies everytime you leave the immediate area?

Perhaps limited by line-of-sight; If you can't see the corpse, it might not stay dead...

Crasical
2011-07-16, 04:26 AM
Well, finally coming back to update this because I finally ran the first session, the town the PCs are staying at going up in smoke as the minions of Dracula attack. I won't be giving you the whole rundown, just the highlights:

The Shaman, who'd been very nervous about his character before the game, got into it very quickly and delighted in describing how his character was fulla ghosts, basically Zappa from Guilty Gear, and how the ghosts emerged/appeared to do various things.

The Fighter got fairly bored, had a hard time closing to enemies before the ranger blasted them, and had a few bad rolls leaving her feeling kind of useless. She was also the only one to get bloodied.

The party seems to blow their dailies fairly fast, assuming they can go rest and recover afterward. They may be surprised when I deny them an extended rest after the next encounter.

I think my love affair with minions is over, at least for now. The party doesn't have much AoE to speak of and they kind of pop with no satisfaction to them for the time it takes to target them.

I rolled back-to-back ones for the boss's encounter power and never got it to recharge during the fight.

I'm planning on a treasure cache during the next encounter with some holy water, a magic throwing axe and either a holy symbol or a knife in it as a nod to the old subweapons. Still not sure how to fit in the Pocketwatch though.

Planning a bossfight with a Flesh-hunger Hulking Zombie when they hit 2nd level.

Dimers
2011-07-17, 02:11 AM
I'm planning on a treasure cache during the next encounter with some holy water, a magic throwing axe and either a holy symbol or a knife in it as a nod to the old subweapons. Still not sure how to fit in the Pocketwatch though.

Mmmm, I'd say an item with a Daily power: activate as a free action to either gain an action point (usable only during this encounter) or gain a standard action to use immediately. If you take the campaign to Epic levels, the higher-level pocketwatch might grant a standard action to you and your allies within 5 squares.

Kurald Galain
2011-07-17, 03:54 AM
Still not sure how to fit in the Pocketwatch though.
An item daily (or just a power) that Immobilizes everything within 5 squares, save ends?

Zaq
2011-07-17, 05:06 AM
I'm actually sending my 4e group into Castlevania next week (woulda been this week, but the game got postponed), so I'm very interested in hearing about how this goes.

Crasical
2011-07-17, 06:50 PM
I'm actually sending my 4e group into Castlevania next week (woulda been this week, but the game got postponed), so I'm very interested in hearing about how this goes.

Nice! I wish your group luck.

As mentioned before, we have 3 characters, a Fighter, a Ranger, and a Shaman.

Fighter is Colleen, a crossdressing knight. It wasn't until the very end of the first session that the rest of the party realized there was a woman under all that plate. Somewhat distrustful of the rest of the party, as their obviously tainted by shadow.
At wills: Reaping Strike, Tide of iron, Sure Strike
Encounter: Covering attack
Daily: Comeback strike
Quote of the session: There is a godsdamn building in the way!

Ranger is Terry, a Shifter (werewolf struggling against his nature) with a gun (refluffed crossbow). Likes getting headshots on minions and doesn't really have the whole idea of 'subtlety' down yet, revealing his cursed nature to the rest of the party mere minutes after meeting them.
At Wills: Twin Strike, ???
Encounter: Fox's cunning
Daily: Split the Tree

Shaman is Ludmille, the extraordinarily cursed butler. He's full of ghosts for a not-fully explained reason, and can speak with them. Dour, depressed, but out of character gleeful about his neat character powers.
At wills: Voice of battle, Haunting Spirits
Encounter: Bramble Ally
Daily: Spirit of Grief's Shadow


They all arrived in town on the same day, met one another, got packed off to a farmhouse to spend the night in, came back to find the town in flames, full of skeletons and a fleaman wizard. Righteous battle ensued, followed by retreating back to the farmhouse for an extended rest. Next time they're going to have to try and breach a haunted forest to reach a small sanctuary site lest they get picked off when the main raiding force moves in...

So tell me about your party? My group won't be entering castlevania proper for at least a few sessions, so I'd like to hear about your plans for the venture.

Zaq
2011-07-17, 07:26 PM
Well, we JUST hit Paragon (next session will be our first at level 11), so we'll be looking at rather different challenges and baddies than your group. Still, thematic stuff can be scaled as appropriate, no?

Bit of background as to how we got to/decided to play in Castlevania (warning: rambling):

We're not a very SERIOUS BUSINESS group. One of us had just gotten their hands on Heroes of Shadow, and we were passing it around and laughing at how [I]hilariously bad the fluff is (seriously, "rainy soul miasma darkness despair" is hilarious to begin with, and WotC's especially bad at it), and someone quipped that at this rate, we might just have to go invade the Shadowfell and make it stop being so stupid. Cue laughter and the start of the session.

Long story short, things went poorly, and the party basically lost (they would have all gotten KO'd and captured by neogi). People weren't too happy about this, so it was suggested that the mindspider ship they were on could have been knocked off course (as they had been trying to do) and crashed, blasting them all to kingdom come. But, since we're Big Damn Heroes (and the gods HAVE taken an interest in at least one of us), rather than just TPKing, we'd wake up in the Shadowfell, as someone had jokingly suggested earlier. I'm imagining Boccob Ioun, Wee Jas the Raven Queen, and/or both waking up the party and informing them "Well, you died . . . but in the process, you ended up crashing a ship full of the evil slavers you were trying to defeat, and in so doing . . . well, you leveled up, and we all know that leveling up heals you. So, you're dead, but you're fully healed. Welcome to Paragon. Go clean out that castle for me and I'll see what I can do about getting you your souls back, 'kay? I know you adventurers love that sort of thing."

Compounding this, I'd half-statted out a build I'd named Simon Belmont a couple months ago, so . . . well, one thing led to another, and now we're exploring Castlevania.

I'm thinking that the castle is going to be one of Dracula's many castles dotting the Shadowfell, and some upstart vampire's moved in and is calling himself the rebirth of Dracula. (He's fairly obviously not, which I'm going to play for humor . . . but this gives us a foe without having us literally fight Dracula at Paragon. I don't wanna be responsible for statting that.) Having a newly dead bunch of heroes who still want to adventure on one hand and a castle being usurped on the other hand, the gods put two and two together and decide to have the party explore the place and perhaps clean it out a bit. (I'm imagining that Dracula's castles are just part of the natural order; they HAVE to be there. It's just the law of the Shadowfell. Of course, Big D himself is off doing other things, but that doesn't mean that just anyone can and should move in.)

I'm still trying to figure out neat room effects (the clock tower and places like it are obvious, but there's plenty of places that aren't).

I'm working on getting all the standard monsters in place (medusa heads, fishmen, fleamen, bats, skeletons, armors, gargoyles . . .); some are surprisingly easy to stat, and some are rather harder. I took a leaf from your book in making goblins into fleamen. Should be fun.

Honestly, before we actually play, I don't have anything to really report, but I'll definitely keep you posted.

Crasical
2011-07-17, 08:30 PM
Part of the reason I started this game was that someone gave me the Undead book as a gift, so I've been planning on using Strahd from that book as Dracula. I'm thinking of having them cleaning up the countryside before entering Castlevania proper, and having them defeat Death (a reaper from the same book) as their boss fight welcome into Paragon Tier for access into the castle.

I just checked with Ludmille's player, and yes, he has the ritual caster feat. Considering giving him the ritual for Create Holy Water as a reward, hoping that the long casting time for a bottle of the stuff will keep them from hunkering down for a month and dumping all their gold into producing the stuff.

Zaq
2011-07-25, 02:18 AM
So, we had the first session today. There wasn't too much worth sharing, but here's an amusing little exchange:

Me: "OK, you're in a big hallway. Blah blah, there are two doors aside from the one you entered from."
Rogue: "OK, I listen at the first door."
Me: "You hear running water."
Rogue: "Crap, that probably means fishmen. We don't want to deal with fishmen. I listen at the second door."
Me: "You hear a crackling fireplace, along with a couple things shuffling around."
Rogue: "I crack the door just a tiny bit and get a Sensing Eye in there."
Me: You see a reading room with a fireplace, a bunch of books and magazines, comfy chairs, and a couple little things hopping around. Make a Perception check for me . . . oh, you also notice a couple heads on the wall."
Entire party: "OH **** NO. WE'LL TAKE THE FISHMEN."

Heh. Buncha pansies didn't want to deal with fleamen and medusa heads at the same time. This is fun.

Zaq
2011-07-26, 07:09 PM
Oh, here's something I think I'm gonna give them sooner or later. Thoughts? Remember, the party's bare-minimum Paragon.
Ring of the Count
Level [don'tyoujerksdaretrytosellthis] Ring
Just wearing this ring invites a dance of illusions to play before your eyes.

Power: Count's Greeting (Encounter, standard move action)
With a sweep of your arm, three fireballs zip out to scorch your foes. By the time they're done trying to dodge, you're already standing somewhere else, and all you can do is cackle.
Area: Close blast 8
Target: Up to three enemies in blast
Attack: Level + 5 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d6 + (1/2 level) fire damage
Effect: You teleport up to 4 squares.
Special: To use this power, you must have reached at least one milestone since your last extended rest.

Power: Tempting Sacrifice (At-will, minor action)
Whether he's here or not, the Count knows you wish to pay HIM tribute.
Personal
Effect: Take damage equal to 1/2 your healing surge value, which cannot be reduced or transferred in any way. You regain the use of Count's Greeting. This does not allow you to use Count's Greeting before reaching a milestone.

Thoughts? Too much, not enough? I considered making it a daily power that recharged after a milestone, but I wanted to be a little more generous. The reason it's a blast is so that they all have to be going roughly the same way . . . I don't think that's too needlessly restrictive.

Kurald Galain
2011-07-26, 07:21 PM
Thoughts? Too much, not enough?
Not enough.

The power does an average of 12 points of damage; a decent striker can easily do twice that with an at-will attack, and non-strikers probably prefer a power that does more than just damage.

Zaq
2011-07-26, 07:32 PM
Not enough.

The power does an average of 12 points of damage; a decent striker can easily do twice that with an at-will attack, and non-strikers probably prefer a power that does more than just damage.

Well, there's also the teleport. What do you think would be more appropriate, though?

Kurald Galain
2011-07-26, 08:11 PM
Well, there's also the teleport. What do you think would be more appropriate, though?
That depends on what you want out of it. I suppose this is Dracula's classic three fireballs move, isn't it?

How about dropping the damage to 1d6 and making it a move action? This makes it more useful for a variety of classes.

Zaq
2011-07-26, 08:32 PM
That depends on what you want out of it. I suppose this is Dracula's classic three fireballs move, isn't it?

How about dropping the damage to 1d6 and making it a move action? This makes it more useful for a variety of classes.

Hmmm. That's a thought. Honestly, I might keep it at 2d6 and drop it down to a move action. I don't think it'd be too powerful. (Honestly, if 1d6 1/encounter makes the difference between a balanced item and an unbalanced item, especially at Paragon . . . then I have no idea how this friggin' game works.) Do you think the teleport distance is too slow? I don't think it needs to be "TELEPORT TEN, SUCKAS!" or anything, but again, I want it to be noticeable.

And yes, it's the classic "teleport + 3 fireballs" thing. Gotta love it.