The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    I said I would put together the write up for the gritty and ruthless city campaign I ran and I finally got enough time to get this started. I will alternate adding content between the Chaotic Goodfellas and this. Let me first say that I loved City State of the Invincible Overlord. I am confident that I am not alone in that regard.

    As a group of friends and gamers we rarely drifted evil in character. Sometimes we would be on the cusp, but it was uncommon to go over the edge. After years of 2nd edition, then making the switch to 3.0 and 3.5/Pathfinder we finally decided to take a shot at doing something intended to be more evil in nature. The result was a combination of two things that we had little experience with…an evil city campaign. Most of our adventures were homebrewed and took place overland or in dungeonesque locations.
    House Rules:
    Pathfinder with some 3.5
    *No Fly Rule in effect
    *Raise Dead etc are all available.
    *We typically tried to reign in sourcebooks, as you open the door to a wide range of feats and races you open Pandora’s box. We incorporated elements of PHB, PHB2, Complete Series and Race of X series for this adventure.
    *A mantra we adopted from Knights of the Dinner Table was greatly repeated in this campaign…”Let the Dice Fall Where They May”. No fudging rolls, no random miracles, no FIAT to save a PC’s life. All rolls were made in the open and nothing was obscured.

    Spoiler
    Show
    The Setting: City State of the Enigmatic OverGnome

    Knobhin Proudfoot is a gnome bard/sublime chord. For decades he has established control and expansion of one of the largest empires in the Material Plane’s history. Silver tongue and iron willed he has coerced and manipulated himself into control of multiple regions. Some tyrants rule with a iron fist…Knobhin rules through the power of his silken voice. Not exactly an evil sort…he is quite jolly…he has an insatiable thirst for further power and glory. While he prefers reason to violence he is not afraid to take as many lives as deems necessary.

    To this end Knobhin has established a base of power that is considered unrivaled. His capital city is a cornucopia of riches and splendor. Beneath the surface a twisting nightmare of creatures returned from death fuel the means to control the population.

    Knobhin has appointed five lord-counselors to govern the daily operation of his realm and city. They are…
    Vardon the Vindictive: A Paladin in service to glory. A once famed crusader and man of faith Vardon has given in to more aggressive tactics and more subversive influences. He is the grand general of the OverGnome’s armies and a formidable combatant.
    Grymm Darkstorm-A towering cloud giant anointed as a death knight. Grymm is the head of city security and in command of the cities guards and milita. He is cruel, pragmatic and utterly loyal to Knobhin.
    Callista the Proud-A vampress and diviner of startling ability she operates all matters of intelligence and is the ringleader of all black market/unauthorized activity in the city. Knobhin is fully aware of her activities and is perfectly fine with her “illegal” proceeds. He figures its better to control the illegal than let it run rampant.
    Pying Liu- A necromancer lich who is charged with finding the means to prolong life for his gnome master. Ven Aus is ancient and feared by nearly every other undead in the world. His motives are mostly unclear and hard to discern.
    Imh the Smiling: Imh is the most senior of the Merciful Furies. A secret police force that answers only to Callista and Knobhin. The Merciful Furies are a collective group of 20 nymph vampires that serve as a Gestapo/KGB/Secret Service.
    City Guard: Not trusting guards that can fall asleep at their posts or take bribes…the entire police force of the city is manned by wraiths and dread wraiths. Crime is seldom.

    Life is good for those who embrace the tenets of capitalism. Those who speak out against the agenda of Knobhin are politely corrected and urged to speak with Knobhin. The rare few that can resist his charms are discreetly reduced to little more than a shadowy husk by his wraiths and then become a new volunteer in the city guard.

    The expansionist nature of Knobhin’s empire had generated no shortage of enemies for the proud bard and he is fully aware of the bounties on his head. Security around him is tight and the loyalty of his lords is strong. For decades the scattered resistance of once proud nations has proven ineffective. The challenge before our proud “heroes” is to find a way to bring low the gnome.
    Tasked with this knowledge the team assembled is eccentric to say the least. Everyone starts at level six with pathfinder character creation, and we throw some added prestige classes/races and a few other tidbits from 3.5, between us we have access to just about every sourcebook and splat book possible. I let them bring just about anything to me within reason.

    Brom Psychic Warrior6 (titan blooded half giant), this was basically a rehash from the Calimshaw campaign but with some twists. Foremost of which was the presence of a major titan bloodline. He took the Assassin’s Path and focused mostly on misdirection. Took Chamelon,Expansion and Compression as 1st level powers and Animal Affinity, Wall Walker and Dissolving Weapon as his 2nd level abilities. He put all his favored class bonuses into additional power points. He played this version of Brom as a brute with a nasty chip on his shoulder. Ostracized as a half-breed the slow maturation of his titan blood further branded him an outcast and he is very touchy about his heritage. The combination of his titan blood and half giant stature means that he weilds huge weapons, and when expanded those huge weapons become gargantuan. Feats: Power Attack, Cleave, Imp Init, Speed of Thought,Psionic Weapon, Weapon Focus Scythe, Ghost Attack.

    Chulainn-Rogue6 (efreet blooded tiefling) Chulainn was meant to be a mortal Loki. A trickster and troublemaker. He poured all his skills into the use of poison, traps and ambush. Feats: Skill Focus Traps, Skill Focus Stealth, Skill Focus Craft Alchemy, Weapon Focus Dagger, Weapon Finesse Dagger, Two Weapon Fighting.

    Dark Kemen Abjurer5/Runesmith1(barred divination/necromancy) This was a very tricky inclusion. Kemen is the consensus favorite character any of our group has ever played. While this was not the “real” Kemen it was a close proxy in terms of style and intent. In lieu of a race that had a level adjustment or a bloodline or similar bump to character power, he got the benefit of not needing to take fighter as a prereq for Runesmith. As a dwarf we figured dwarven mountain plate was heavy armor and he should be proficient owing to his dwarf-ness. Feats: Spell Focus Abjuration, Craft Wonderous Item, Crafts Arms Armor, Craft Wand

    Yellowbeard Rogue2/Fighter4 (human paragon) Yellowbeard remains one of the snake bitten unlucky characters I have ever seen at a table. A big fat spoiler ahead of time…if there was a critical dice roll or a situation where things could go either way based on one action, then chances are Yeller f-ed it up in grand fashion. The guy played him as a land ridden pirate without a ship that brooded over his past all the time. Feats: Imp Init, WF Rapier, Two Weapon Fighting, Imp 2 Weapon, Double Slice, Combat Reflexes, Weapon specialization rapier, Weapon finesse rapier, blind fight, lunge.

    Ven Aus-Archivist6 (human paragon) A scholar of death and murder. Played as someone with no moral compass that would murder children in specific ways just to document the process. Feats: Spell Focus Necro, Greater Spell Focus Necro, Skill Focus Know Religon, Skill Focus Know Arcana, Spell Penetration

    Freyja Antipaladin 6(drow noble) For the context of this campaign I told this player that he was the last drow on the planet. A true oddity and that if he took this race then chances were his reputation would precede him just about everywhere he went. Feats: Extra Lay Handsx2, Selective Channeling

    I normally identify who more or less played whom...I will let people guess on this one.

    The Original Plan:
    All gamers know that the best laid plans are ruined the moment the first die is cast. My intention was for the group to enter the city, take up residence somewhere in a tavern etc and then get caught up in some mini-dungeon crime syndicate hijinks. After drawing the attention of one of the five captains they would work their way to the inner city and subvert one of the captains, in return their patron would give them access to the capital and a way in to reach the gnome.

    What they did instead…

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Just to tell you, I've subscribed to every campaign thread you have started. You're stories are just that good. Keep it up please.
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!
    Player hears: GOOD JOB PLAYER! DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Your writing is very good, but with these last two threads, and an unfinished "Adversarial" thread epilogue, you are falling into the same trap as some of my favorite series writers. . . I want to read the whole thing!
    Please continue updating as often as you can, keep up the good work.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    CoffeeIncluded's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New York
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Aaahhh why did you leave it off there?

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    I very much look forward to finding out what they did instead, since players are notorious for doing everything BUT what we expect them to do.
    The Silverclawshift Campaign Journals Two FANTASTIC campaigns detailed here. An absolute must read.

    "Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it." George Bernard Shaw

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    What They Did Instead:

    Spoiler
    Show
    From my perspective having the players give the wraiths manning the entrance to the city their names was fairly straightforward. I described it as a mundane step to document anyone who entered the city. I wanted to have one of the captains be able to reference them by their character names at some point down the road and didn't think it would cause too much aggravation. I was wrong.

    They all acted like giving their names to a guard was paramount to having a geas or compulsion placed upon them. The whole group collectively went a little crazy while trying to figure out a way to enter the city without having to give their identities away. 20 minutes of back and forth finally gave way to the PC's finding a sewer drain that empited to a marsh a few hundred yards away and the half giant rips the grill off it so they can make their way via sewer and circumvent the name check at the front gate.

    So what should have been a fifteen second name exchange followed by a cold cut to a basic city description is now developed into an on the fly sewer crawl where I need to reason out reactions to city dwellers seeing a bizarre assortment of races emerge from the sewers covered in filth and excrement.

    I have several "random encounters" pre-planned and ready to drop in at appropriate times and I elect to throw one out there. I had made a troll goon squad that was to be employed by a mid ranking mob boss and sent as leg breakers. The PC's were supposed to interrupt the trolls planting powder kegs as explosives in a tavern basement, so I mixed it up and had them planting explosives below the foundation of a tavern.

    The group stumbles upon a trio of trolls planting their barrels at the foundation of a building and wedging in a fuse which they are about to light. So naturally the group immediately tells the trolls they are looking for work and don't mind getting their hands dirty.

    I pause for a second...put down the dice I was about to roll for init and stop again to try and get my bearing. Imagine you are a troll goon who works for some rather nasty employeers, you are sent out to do some sabotage and while hip deep in sewage a group of well equipped and rare humanoids sloshs up to you in the murk and basically asks are you hiring?

    That actually works out fairly well for most of what I have planned. The trolls are employed by a mid level guy named Korman who is jockeying for position as one of the five captains and arranging a meeting with him is a good start for intrepid not-heroes.

    The group follows the trolls back to the shipping warehouse that Korman uses as his office and from there they meet Korman and agree to demonstrate their eagerness to get gainful employment. Korman himself is overly cautious and violent which tends to make his long term connections wear thin. Korman does a good amount of the dirty work for Grymm who is seeking to expand his own wealth. To that end Grymm provides leads to Korman who then steals and murders targets of opportunity from the docks.

    The group's first task is to track down a wealthy merchant that chiseled Grymm on a recent deal and stow aboard his personal vessel, once free from the shore line they are to murder him and his crew then return the vessel and it's cargo to Korman.

    Korman provides them a small room in the warehouse to sleep and eat and lets them wash up and get clean. That night the group slips down to the merchants cog and waits to ensure he boards. Their main lead for the merchant is that he is always dressed in sable and carries a pair of daggers at his waist at all times.

    The rogue is frothing at the prospect of daggers and he slips me a note saying he will do just about anything to palm them from the corpse and switch them out if at possible.

    Its getting late in the night when they spot the merchant boarding his cog...a pair of daggers at his waist each adorned with handles that look like they are crafted from glass lightning bolts. They work their way onto the ship unnoticed and stow away amidst the rigging as the ship leaves port.

    As they make their way towards open water, the rogue and fighter start to sneak up and take out the sentries aboard the ship. Yellowbeard our fighter/rogue rolls a great stealth check, then rolls a 2 on his attack roll to take out his sentry. An alarm is raised and sailors start pouring out from below decks where the half giant begins a full scale slaughter of the unarmored sailors. I end up having the ships crew retreat and start barricading themselves below deck.

    With the better part of 20 sailors and another 10 dedicated bodyguards all now armed with crossbows and provided cover, the gung ho nature of the group is balked. The rogue comes up with an over the top "so stupid it might work plan". They grab a good sized barrel and punch out an eye slit and some slots for his arms to stick out. They plan on rolling him below deck and letting him shoot from inside the barrel with a hand crossbow. During the distraction the fighter and giant will charge in to get attention while the soon to be invisible wizard and archivist make their way into convient positions.

    The rogue makes a few awesome acrobatic checks and is sniping with too effiecent accuracy. The fighter comes charging down the stairs to the under ship and rolls a 2, which leaves him tumbling and knocked down. He gets swarmed by sailors who start pounding him with clubs and scimitars. His ass whooping lets the rogue and half giant get into position and the in short order the combination of sneak attacks and spell casting reduces the ships protection to corpses. Pumped and excited the group searches the entire expanse of the ship and can't find the merchant.

    They reallllly start to panic when the lanterns of another vessel become visible from dark of night. After what feels like ages the rogue manages to find a secret room onboard the ship. The good news...the merchant is in the room...the bad news? The rogue and Half Giant are there alone while everyone else is above ship, and within the room with the merchant are the captain and 1st mate. These three are armed and ready, and they ain't pushovers. The abjurer makes it down the stairs first and puts up a web to immobilize just about everyone except the rogue. The half giant gets caught at one of the edges. Working in tandem with support from the archivist they manage to get the upper hand, and the drow makes some selective channels that finally take down the trio. Their grand reward...a pair of +2 shock daggers that the rogue cheerfully helps himself to.


    (more to come in the coming days...just wanted to get something on it)

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Sooooooo glad to see you back posting.
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!
    Player hears: GOOD JOB PLAYER! DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    The Old Switcheroo

    Spoiler
    Show
    The gang is cleaning up the mess aboard the cog and organizing the ship to return to port, when the light they saw in the distant night arrives. A second ship, much smaller and less well staffed is searching for port and saw the lights from their conquered vessel. The captain is a pleasant sort who has a load of cargo he needs to sell off at Knobhin’s capital. Chulainn, the rogue, cheerfully informs him of the directions to port and invites the captain aboard so he can show him a chart for the local waters. The captain readily agrees and the moment he enters the true captain’s quarters Chulainn sinks both of his recently acquired daggers into the man’s kidneys.

    Ven Aus, the archivist witnesses this and flags down the first mate from the smaller ship.

    Ven: Your captain requests your assistance, he needs to ensure a second set of eyes bears the course ahead.

    The first mate seems a bit confused, but acquiesces. Brom and Chulainn ambush him in the captain’s quarters as well and murder him. The first mate raises a cry of alarm before being hacked to shreds and the second vessel goes into panic mode. Freyja triggered a selected channel and begins culling the weakest members of the crew. The gang routes the sailors on the 2nd ship and rifle through their cargo for valuables. A few trinkets from individual sailors and a chest of coin are their monetary rewards for cold blooded murder, along with a cargo hold of spices.

    The group splits with Yellowbeard,Freyja and Kemen taking the larger vessel, Chulainn,Ven and Brom take the smaller vessel and return to port. The dock master pulls aside Yellowbeard and whispers…

    Dock Master:I can have twenty wraiths on this dock inside of 20 seconds. So give me a reason not to report a vessel belonging to a merchant with a established reputation returning not six hours after it left without it’s crew being manned by someone I have never seen.

    Yellowbeard: Give me a number…
    Dock Master: 5 thousand.
    Yellowbeard: We only got 6,000 from the whole ship!
    Dock Master: In that case 5,500…
    Kemen: Do it…

    The other three bring in the smaller merchant ship and legally report their names and register the ship. They pay a hefty price for “misplacing” their paperwork.

    The gang returns to Korman and gives him the manifest of the ship’s contents.

    Korman: Any complications…?
    Freyja: Unless bloodstains can answer questions…then no.

    Korman is sufficiently impressed with their turn around time and moves them to an actual residential building where they are given personal apartments. They each get paid 2,000 which encompasses the bulk of their liquid resources.

    Freyja discreetly requests the location and cost of a good bloodletter. There is a sizeable vampire population in the city and such establishments are hardly uncommon. He slips out in the middle of the night and visits a bloodletting boutique. From there he purchases a preservation unit and as many glass bottles as will fit inside it. The purpose of the unit is to preserve blood for later use. It runs him nearly his entire 2,000 and the reasoning for his odd purchase is not immediately explained. Once it arrives at his apartment he draws out as much blood as he is able without stat damage.

    Chulainn slips back into the streets and passes some cash around to gather information on the Dock Master.

    The rest of the group returns to the docks and takes full inventory of the captured ship’s contents. Not wanting to bribe guards everytime they move Kemen and Ven inquire for an adminstrator’s office and set about replacing their “lost” paperwork. The spices are valued for their scarcity and Chulainn tracks down a lot of direct buyers so as to avoid official channels.

    The following night they assemble together and set off for an office building/apartment near the docks. The office belongs to a Gregori Jaxen, the dock master from the previous day. Chulainn picks the lock into the house, Freyja puts down a cover of darkness and they enter his residence unseen. They find him asleep and coup de grace him into a much more permanent sleep. Brom rolls him up in a carpet and they carry him down to their captured ship. They do a half hearted job of arranging a scuffle gone serious and make it look like Gregori was responsible for inciting the slaughter on board. They then proceed to track down Gregori’s second in command and bribe him into accepting his bosses job. He just has to file the paperwork and transfer the ship to it’s legal owners...them.

    An inactive night follows (except for Freyja leeching himself) and they report to their crime boss Korman for his next job. He tells them that certain matters require a troublesome dock worker to suffer an accident. Korman hands them the address for Gregori’s office and tells them to make it look like an accident.

    Chulainn: I take it you haven’t left the warehouse yet today?
    Korman: No why?
    Kemen: Providence smiles on you Korman. Looks like your troublesome dock master got himself into a bit of trouble. You should hear it about at some point today.

    Korman is left perplexed and a bit worried. He tells them to relax and once he sorts out the most recent events he will contact us again.

    The group scatters around the city. Chulainn and Brom are going through a bunch of ship’s manifests they snatched from Gregori’s office while Freyja and Ven do some investigation on the city guards. Yellowbeard and Kemen return to the “Unicorn’s Fifth Leg” their renamed ship. They make ready the ship for some short range ecursions.

    Freyja and Ven learn some very interesting things with regards to the city guard. They happen upon a small crypt amidst the storefronts and houses. A line of the elderly and infirm resolutely await at it’s front doors. Family members stand nearby in support and tears are not exactly masked but subtle. They watch in fascination as an administrator comes out and escorts an elderly couple and presumably their grandson inside. A few minutes later the grandson leaves alone with a small coin purse and a few moments after he leaves…a pair of wraiths emerge and whisk off to the shadows…

    Freyja: did I just see what I thought I saw?
    Ven: Possibly. If so that is entirely intriguing.

    The two go into the crypt and several things are discovered.

    *The crypt is on desecrated ground. So a boost to creating undead.
    *The elderly, the infirm and terminally ill are wraith-anized by their family to bolster the police forces of the city. The families get a kickback for helping the civic duty.
    *Each wraith is tagged with a serialized amulet of ghost touch. So they can be monitored and tracked by the higher ups. Kind of like a spectral sku number.

    You would fully expect that such cold and ruthless measures would cause a tick on anyone’s moral compass. Some manner of outrage or shock should be expected. What do Freyja and Ven ask?

    “So…any chance we can replicate the amulets?”


    I will try to post semi-regular updates on this one. I have found this one to be the hardest to write owing to just how crazy things end up breaking down.
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Red Tape as a Shield:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Kemen is consulted as a crafting character and tells them that he could replicate the amulets, it would cost him about 500 gold per “collar” and he could make 3 a day. They compare notes and come up with a few serviceable goals.

    *Kemen is going to work on making our own collars and then duplicating serial numbers.
    *Ven the archivist is going to research the means in which to seize control of the undead so they can subverted to our service
    *The Unicorn’s Fifth will be desecrated to give us some bonuses on converting undead and storing our own cadre of wraiths.

    Korman sends a runner to us at our apartments and tells us to gear up and meet at his warehouse.

    When we arrive at his warehouse he has all of his guards and thugs on high alert.

    Korman: Grymm got word that something happened to Gregori. Apparently the bastard was funneling almost everything we got right to him. Word on the street is that he is pissed.

    Kemen: You expect attack?
    Korman: you bet your ass. He won’t move against me directly…but he will send some goons to do his work for him.
    Chulainn: We should talk in your office…maybe we can come up with a plan away from prying ears?

    The rogue gestures to the gathered thugs.
    Korman: Right. Let’s go.

    *a few minutes later*

    Brom emerges from Korman’s office and places Korman’s head on a spear.

    Brom: The boss says you all can take the rest of the night off…he has a splitting headache and wants to be left alone.

    The gang then casually waits in Korman’s warehouse as blood from his severed head drips to the warehouse floor like a drippy faucet. Some hours later a group of wraiths being led by a vampire in red silk enter the warehouse. The vampire sends out a command and freezes his wraith’s in place. His name is Captain Krona and he is servant to one of the Merciful Furies.

    Krona: I had directions to bring back Korman’s head on a spike. Here I find that job already done. I am curious as to why you would so brazenly murder a citizen of this city and simply await here for your capture and execution?

    Brom: you just said you were here to murder the guy and take his head…

    Krona: I work for the city and derive my orders from authority. I am not familiar with your credentials. When I cut off a head it is legal. When you do it…we get more city guards.

    Chulainn: We work better alive.
    Krona: And just who is “we”
    Chulainn: We are a brutal and ruthless gang of well seasoned adventurers with aspirations to power and glory.

    Krona: We get five of those every week.

    Kemen: yeah but how many get into the city without being checked by security and how many manage to do your job for you before you get a chance to do it? You want to explain to your boss how six dangerous people entered your city , killed off a prominent crime boss and yet you had the audacity to take credit for it? We are new to the city but veterans of **** rolling downhill. No one wants to look bad in this and have to deal with the red tape of shifting blame.

    Krona: your alternative.

    Chulainn: We work for you now. You wanted to mix things up a bit and be unpredictable so you brought in some specialists. We took out Korman on your orders and you get to pass the buck on lax security to someone else.

    Krona: You six are right at home in this place…it suits you.

    Freyja: All we ask is that we get to keep our apartments. I hate moving.
    Krona: I think you should meet my boss.

    That alarms them a bit. Moving up to a higher chain before they get a chance to manipulate the current peg concerns them. But they are bluffing an inside straight when all they got is two pair, so they join Krona is meeting his boss.

    Krona leads them to one of the crypts where wraiths are formed and takes them deep into the bowels of the city. Knobhin is something of a traditionalist and undead in his mind belong underground and out of sight until they are needed. His boss is a ranking nymph vampire called Prin. As one of the Merciful Furies she is a prominent member of the cities hierarchy.

    Krona is straightforward and honest in detailing what happened and why be brought them to see her.

    Krona: I know my place, and this requires your involvement.

    She is awe inspiring. Her force of personality and grace are otherworldly. The combination of fae heritage and vampiric qualities lend the air of a super predator. One that you would happily oblige by feeding yourself to her.

    Prin: You show potential for newcomers. This city needs infusions of fresh blood to maintain it’s edge. Power and glory are sought after by many…tell me what you really want

    What they really want is presumably to overthrow the gnome. But they all realize that is hardly an answer that allows them to remain living. So they settle for saying the next best thing.

    Chulainn: Well immortality and respect would be nice too. All of us are something of outcasts whether it be our heritage, or our professions. We heard that Knobhin’s city offered advancement on merit not politics.
    Prin: Well said little fiend.

    The vampiress paces the room for several moments and then gestures to the shadows…where a prominent dread wraith emerges…the dread wraiths have different collars that are far more intricate. Much more difficult to replicate…and non serialized. Instead there is a band of red through the metal. Hmmm…red silk on her vassels, red band on her wraiths.

    Prin: This is Despair…he is my servant and your new master. Our city operates as a well oiled machine…but even the finest apparatus requires upkeep. A band of clerics in service to Pelor and their crusader brethren have recently entered the city and taken up a terrorist role against our guards. They seek to undermine the sanctity of our uncorruptible police force. Track them down and kill them. Simply speak the name Despair to any wraith in the city and he will find you when the task is complete.

    Side Mission accepted the group is ready to leave, and as they make their exits Freyja (without their knowledge) slips a small vial with a handwritten note to Prin.
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Undead of a Different Color:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The gang quickly stumbles upon the system in which to identify which wraiths work for whom. There are twenty Furies in total and twenty different bands of color in which the officer Dread Wraiths bear. By understanding which wraiths answer to whom the group gets a bit deeper in determining a means in which to undermine authority.

    Kemen says he needs a sample to study from a dread wraith if he is going to replicate or have a chance at replicating one of those collars. Chulainn and Brom set out track down the insurgents while Ven and Kemen delve deeper into researching the collars. Freyja and Yellowbeard scout out the docks to get a better lay of the terrain. While they are separated a messenger in red silk comes for Freyja. Yellowbeard realizes something is up and insists on joining the drow.

    Freyja: I think it would be in your best interests to remain here. I shouldn’t be gone long.

    Yellowbeard: Nah…I think I will go with you. Best to travel in pairs, wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.

    The two make their way to Prin’s lair and the vampire excuses her other subordinates from the room. There is a frenzied look in her eyes and she is obviously on edge.

    Prin: Which one of you is it? I MUST know. Which one???
    Yellowbeard: Uh…
    Freyja: Prin…I can answer that question but first I must insist that you kill my comrade…
    Yellowbeard: WHAT?

    It’s not even a contest. She is on Yellowbeard (who rolled a 2 for initiative) faster than he can blink. She drains him dry, and let’s his husk hit the floor. Before it is determined if he comes back as a full fledged, a spawn or not at all Freyja goes to work with Prin.

    Freyja: I couldn’t risk him talking about what transpires here. My goals…may not strictly align with those of my colleagues. I take it you enjoyed my little treat?

    Prin: Drow blood…no one has tasted drow blood in a century. It is you isn’t it?
    Freyja: Naturally. I am the source for that blood…the only source.

    Prin: You are priceless little morsel. I will keep you shackled and sell off your blood to every vampire in the city…they will pay anything for the gold that runs in your veins.

    Freyja: not a chance.
    Prin: You dream that you are a match for me?

    Freyja: no…but I sent alerts to the other 19 Furies along with samples of my “liquid gold”, if I vanish then you can count on having company they will know where to look. Now as for my comrade…can you make him a full fledged vampire, but under my control?

    Prin: You ask a great deal…tis taxing to turn one and pass control.
    Freyja: Would two pints make it worthwhile?

    Yellowbeard ooc: This is BS. You are going to make me your thrall? Some damn puppet with no free will.

    Freyja: You get boosts to natural armor, fast healing and some big time stat jumps…

    *long pause(
    Un-Yellowbeard: Ok…I find that the life of a thrall is good for me and I am eager to serve my new master.

    ….later that day (as night falls) Yellowbeard and Freyja return to the apartments with the rest of the group. They have a chart set up with the 20 Furies and their matching heraldry. They also have leads on the insurgents living in the abandoned sub structures below the city.

    (Now a lot of this comes down to players having the maturity and TRUST to separate player knowledge from character knowledge. This is soooo damn hard to maintain when someone in your group just fed your team mate to a blood sucking vampire for their own purposes)

    Chulainn: Yeller, you look like crap…what the heck happened.
    Yellowbeard: Prin wanted to make sure we didn’t waste her time and said she wanted to give us some incentive to move quickly. So she killed me and re-animated me as her slave.

    Brom: This bitch don’t mess around…

    Any plans for day time activity just took a massive knock…but the immediate plan is to hit the sewer system and hunt down some holy men. They put Yellowbeard on point and have him “sniff” his way to the clerics. The group wanders through the sewers most of the night and as dawn approachs they track down a small camp with 3 clerics of pelor and a trio of paladins. Brom and Yellowbeard launch themselves at the paladins as Freyja laces negative energy towards them. The clerics do a good job of countering Freyja and the paladins are holding their own…Chulainn breaks the stalemate when he slips behind a cleric and disembowels him with a critical backstab. Kemen and Ven focus on the third paladin and Yellowbeard gets separation and sinks his teeth into one of the clerics.

    Once they have full control of the battle, Yellowbeard drains the remaining cleric and gets to leave with a pair of vampire clerics. They sever the heads of the Paladins and strip them of all their equipment. Just like that Yellowbeard (now called Orangebeard from here out) is up to his maximum for servant vampires. I guess to be honest all three report to Freyja but that is not yet common knowledge. The biggest find amongst the treasure is a cache of ghost touch weapons. Longswords, Daggers, and Morningstars.

    Chulainn: I think I know how to get the intricate collar sample…

    The group sends word to a lesser wraith that we need Despair. Despair joins us and we inform him that we have tracked down the insurgents and need his help. The dread wraith accompanies them into the sewers…where they ambush him in a rush and hack his incorpeal frame to shreds in the surprise round.

    They then have the audacity to march back into Prin’s office and give her four severed heads.

    Prin: What happened to Despair?

    Freyja: We had the outsiders pinned down and suppressed, and we called him in to assist. He helped us turn the tide but the clerics got him. Yellowbeard exacted revenge on your behalf and took them to suffer eternally under his wing. A little ironic justice…they became that which they hunted.

    Prin: An acceptable loss…I will take the heads of these treasonous dogs to Knobhin himself. You have done well…

    The group bows and takes their leave of her. With a sample to work on…Kemen gets busy trying to replicate the more intricate collar. Over the next several days he figures it out and can make an intricate collar a week, or 3 simple ones a day. As we await further instruction he sets about making as many collars as he can.

    Freyja is called away to several “private meetings” and the in character players begin growing suspicious. Chulainn begins to follow him to these private meetings and no one ever allows themselves to be alone with him.

    (the amount of folded note passing in this campaign becomes overwhelming)

    There is a lot of commotion through the streets one day and word spreads that Vardon is returning from waging warfare abroad. He is considered the least stable and most volatile of the city’s captains and people are a little uneasy. To that end Prin enlists us to act as onlookers in the crowd when he arrives. Just in case anyone tries something funny she wants a few unfamiliar faces in the crowd to react.

    Freyja leaves Orangebeard and his cleric cronies below street level in a nearby sewer, and everyone else spreads out in the crowd and waits for any commotion. Vardon is authority dressed in steel. His presence commands respect and awe. When he emerges from the gantry of a steel ship and proceeds through the town as if on parade there is steady and measured applause. During his processional a great roar issues from beyond the city walls and a black dragon swoops across the buildings of the city. On it’s back is a figure clad in crimson armor wielding a flail. One of the onlookers yelps “It’s Mulbane!”

    Mulbane is the previous captain of the guard and premier general. From the hasty exposition amidst his landing the group is informed that Vardon caused him to resign in disgrace. The two engage in a pitched battle where it is clear that Mulbane is the weaker. Vardon is quicker and stronger, consistently pushing back his attacker and landing the steadier and heavier blows. From the turmoil comes a melodious tune. All commotion stops and everyone for a full city block is transfixed with fascination. Marching down the street in time to his own melody is a gnome…his song alone has ended the battle.

    Chulainn: That must be Knobhin…

    Unimpeded the gnome bounces up to a trembling and dumstruck Mulbane…

    Knobhin: hey buddy…no need for all this.
    Mulbane:I…I…

    With a simple pat on the shoulder Mulbane’s anxiety vanishes and he begins sobbing uncontrollably.

    Mulbane: Please forgive me…
    Knobhin: Absolutely. Water under the bridge. Just come with me and the three of us can work this out.

    With a finger snap the black dragon dips his head and allows the gnome to mount it.

    Knobhin: cool mount…mind if I keep him? I think he likes me.

    Mulbane nods his assent so fast it looks like he might break his own neck…the dragon turns from veracious acid spitting winged death to happy puppy.

    Kemen: I think we are witnessing diplomacy and bardism at it’s most broken.

    No one ever sees Mulbane against…but within hours Prin has a new Dread Wraith…she calls him The Forgiven…
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Change of Sheets:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Tension within the group is high. Freyja continues to have private meetings away from the rest of the band and Chulainn is growing more and more vexed at his inability to follow. For his part Freyja has entered into an intricate dance…and he is starting to stumble on his feet. The Furies are literally trying to suck him dry. He made his move too fast and didn’t have a stockpile of blood large enough to buy him time. They are pressing him further and further into Con damage for his delicious and unique flavor. So he does the only thing he can think of to keep the vampires at bay…he sacrifices the rogue. He allows Chulainn to follow him and lays an ambush where-in Orangebeard and his vampire clerics jump the efreet blooded tiefling. It’s a strange enough blend of heritage that he figures it should buy him some time to recuperate his own contributions.

    Freyja: Sorry mate…can’t risk you escaping and I’m pretty sure the others will have my head if I bring you back as a vampire too.

    Chulainn: so you are going to kill me in cold blood?
    Freyja: funny that you should mention it…I have system for keeping it warm…and I’m going to need every drop you got…

    The majority of this happens off screen, and the other three are left in the wind. Even the Players don’t get what fully happened. They just see one of their friends come back to the table grumbling and working on a new character. There is a strict prohibition against new characters having the same knowledge of the old characters…but if you have ever run an adventure where these kind of hijinks occur then you realize that is a war nearly impossible to win.

    When Freyja comes back minus the rogue…questions are asked and weapons are being taken out…

    Brom: What happened?
    Freyja gestures to Orangebeard….
    Orangebeard: One of the other Furies…a rival jockeying for an advantage over Prin jumped us. Chulainn bought us enough time to escape and Prin drove them off before she should take us too.

    Kemen: Which one.?
    Freyja: Persif I think…orange band with a green swirl…
    Kemen: really? Persif huh?
    Freyja: yep.

    Unbeknownst to Freyja…Kemen and Ven have been tracking the movements and actions of all the Furies by tracking their Dread Wraiths. They discovered the lairs of each of the Furies and have been able to keep tabs on some of their comings and goings. I know that Kemen knows it’s a bald faced lie…but Freyja doesn’t.

    Kemen: Come on Ven…we got work to do. We will meet up with you later…

    He and Ven leave the apartments and make their way to the Unicorn’s Fifth. It becomes their unofficial lair…and they move it up a canal a few hundred feet in from the bay. A canal that happens to be running water…

    Chulainn is reintroduced to the group as NE Cleric who worships death and specializes in summoning. He is fluffed in as a “cousin” of Brom’s. His new character name is Ferrous.

    And with his introduction I now have three factions…none of whom trusts each other now working to different ends.

    Freyja continues to manipulate the Furies and work towards his own goals…

    Brom and Ferrous begin raising their own wraith forces which they tag with duplicate collars from Kemen. They start loading their apartments and the sewers below with undead that answer to them and they swell their ranks by abducting citizens and refugees that they “feed” to the wraiths.

    Kemen and Ven continue researching the movements of various entities in the city and they also start researching the nature of the crypts and what means are being used to control and track all the undead in the city.
    With everybody divided and scrambling for their own agenda…the group is promoted to level 7 and their scheming continues…

    Freyja is the first to extend an olive branch…through his contacts with the Furies he is privy to some confidential information. In exchange for extra rations of his blood they provide him information no one else can acquire. One of these Furies, Cherim (yellow band) tells him that Vardon is recruiting personal bodyguards. Not so much from the standpoint of them being needed, more from a tactical advantage of having underling to soak up damage. Freyja arranges some strong references for Brom to get the job.

    Now at this point he has stone cold given up two of the party for dead and while they don’t have actual confirmation their suspicion of him is at an all time high. Brom reluctantly agrees to take on the job and reports as a personal guard for the head of Knobhin’s armies. This also affords him the right to stand in court and witness the gnome in action. In most campaigns the information gleaned from that post would be widely distributed and readily available. In this campaign its held tighter than fart on a first date.

    Meanwhile….Kemen and Ven arrange the death of an administrator at one of the crypt stations and they bribe their way into getting Ven as the replacement. This affords them access to a crypt station and the ability to siphon off undead of their own. Undead they strategically place all over the city. The two of them get crazy and bring me the most intricate flow chart I could imagine. They have a complex system of placing wraiths to make it appear like all the Furies are working to overthrow each other. If a duplicate wraith is discovered, the paperwork and collars will lead the investigator to incriminate a different Fury.

    They also proceed to put together a force of five wraiths to attack Freyja…With his ghost touch packing vampire minions Freyja is able to repel his shadowy assassins and he comes to Kemen and Ven to try and determine who orchestrated the attack on him…they are helpful enough to track down the paper trail and tell him the attacks came from Prin.

    Freyja takes this attack as a sign that Prin is ready to drain him dry or capture him for her own extended and personal use…in either case he is not interested in undeath and he sends word to the remaining Furies that Prin is going behind their backs. He requests they deal with her directly and he will give them every last scrap of tiefling blood as a bonus.

    The following day Brom is witness to an upset Knobhin being told that an assassin entered the city and tried to attack his chambers…Prin intercepted the assassin and repelled them…but was staked and destroyed in the process. The Furies come in force before Knobhin to express their regret and make a recommendation for raising someone into her position…a recently acquired vampire named Orangebeard…who proved valiant in trying to defend her.

    This is news to Brom who thought that Orangebeard was Prin’s minion…and he rushes off to alert Ferrous and the two casters. Freyja learns through Orangebeard of Brom’s strange behavior and decides that Brom has to go as well. He sends his vampire hitsquad to take out the psychic warrior…but they are rebuked by the cleric Ferrous.

    Ferrous goes straight to Vardon and informs him that one of his personal retinue was attacked by vampires in conjunction with the Furies. When Vardon meets personally with the administrator in charge of Prin’s former wraiths…he is helped by a remarkably knowledge Ven who directs him to Imh…the most senior of the Furies and presumably the strongest. For all appearances it now looks to Vardon like Prin was overthrown by Imh and Imh placed a ringer that answered to him as her replacement. This replacement then took a shot at one of Vardon’s guards.

    (at this point I am having 30x more fun than my six players. They are so caught up in mistrusting each other that they just keep kicking a hornet’s nest at one another)

    As everything grows tenser and more complicated…Freyja is pushed to his very physical limits. In order to assuage the irate Furies trying to figure out just what the hell is going on he borderline exsangunates himself. He is down to 5 Con and is barely conscious.

    The group has a meeting in a public place (at night) to try and sort their differences in a reasonable fashion. It does not go well. Lines in the sand remain clear and the three factions do not re-unite in anything meaningful. Kemen and Ven do ask Brom to plant a duplicate collar “prototype” somewhere in Vardon’s personal chamber if the opportunity arises.

    And so the chaos grows….
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Axinian's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    California
    Gender
    Intersex

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    So many updates! Is it Christmas already?
    Spoiler: Campaign Journals
    Show


    Axinia: My campaign setting.
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Ack! This is wonderful reading, and a fascinating story of interparty politics, but now I'm spoiled with so many updates so quickly. I need more!

    (And by need I of course mean would LOVE to read more, but will wait as patiently as I can because I know real life happens.)
    The Silverclawshift Campaign Journals Two FANTASTIC campaigns detailed here. An absolute must read.

    "Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it." George Bernard Shaw

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Battle Lines are Drawn:

    Spoiler
    Show
    I wake up one Saturday morning, make breakfast, hop in the shower etc. I track down a couple of manila folders and a stack of index cards, snatch my dice bag and drive over to my friend’s house for our weekly gaming. I let myself in and walk through the kitchen pausing long enough to grab a drink and amble on downstairs…

    Our usual table (with it’s duct taped chessex battlemap permanently in place) is pushed aside. Three folding tables are set up around it with a pair of chairs at each. My DM screen is pushed way back into the corner with a coffee table for counter space. My players have taken it upon themselves to reorganize the playing space to reflect the drawn battle lines. There is not exactly hostility, but fierce competition.

    Me: Something tells me this week will prove contentious.

    Perhaps more ominous…there is a stack of new character sheets waiting in the wings with a small stick note that says “ Bring out Your Dead”

    Freyja is hard at work trying to figure out a means in which to put some mud on Vardon and Grymm. His plan is looking a little clearer…he is trying to manipulate the Furies into creating a job opening for himself alongside the gnome. He is also a hair away from incapacitation from Con loss. When he returns back to his apartments after a meeting with the Furies, there is an exquisitely dressed elf waiting for him in his chambers. She is regality defined and articulate in every motion and word. She is also the head of the cities black market and intelligence. The Furies answer only to her and to Knobhin.
    She is Callista…the strongest and oldest of all undead in the city.

    Callista: You reach high for one so young.

    Freyja: I am 280 years old.

    Callista: An infant. A unique infant, but an infant none the less. I wonder if you have any grasp of what those you seek to usurp are capable of.

    Freyja: I am good with the risks.

    Callista: I imagine you believe so. Your disappointment when truth comes calling will be pleasureable. But I am more interested in your blood.

    Freyja: Take a number and get in line.

    Callista: Not drinking it little drow. I have far more control over my urges then my minions. I am more interesting in generating more of your blood, not consuming it.

    Freyja: Restoration spells only go so far…trust me I have tried.
    Callista: I had something far more mundane in mind. You are to board a black carriage I send this time tomorrow night and follow it’s route alone and without delay.

    Kemen and Ven meanwhile decide to orchestrate a test. Like two old men playing chess in the park they trigger a series of unauthorized wraith attacks on the general populace. The wraiths will track back to Strawna, a Fury that left Vardon’s personal chambers that morning. It will appear that they attacked citizens and location under Imh’s personal influence. For their purposes it will look like Vardon is moving against Imh who they framed for making the attack against Vardon.

    Alarms and warnings start erupting all over the city as wraiths start attacking average citizens and businessman. Chaos breaks out all over the place the death toll reaches the dozens. A short time later Knobhin calls a big counsel meeting. All the Furies, Callista, Vardon, and every administrator overseeing a crypt is called into the Overgnome’s throne room. He is angry and his displeasure has noticeable effects on the audience.

    Before him, bound in spectral shackles are eight of the duplicate wraiths and their serialized legitimate counterparts. Knobhin wants answers and presses his captains for knowledge. What starts out civilly soon erupts into anarchy. Vardon, Callista, and Imh are all at each other’s throats (in the vampires case it is metaphorically). The misdirection and sabotage are playing out effectively and Knobhin is clearly showing doubt. Everything in the room is frozen as Knobhin shouts…

    Knobhin: ENOUGH. STOP!

    The STOP! has the weight of a powerful Command and everyone abides.

    Knobhin: Clearly I will not receive wisdom from my captains and their trusted followers. A misunderstanding could have been resolved. This feels too much like treason. I am an understanding sort…but treason *he shudders* sits badly with me. If you got a problem come to me and we can talk it out…or try to kill me…I get that. But don’t try to be shady.

    Callista: None of us would betray you most exalted one.

    Knobhin: I want to believe that…unfortunately I don’t have that luxury anymore.

    As he speaks the last a sense of dread fills the room…an overwhelming sense of fear and doubt. On a veranda overlooking the city from just outside the throne room is the flapping of wings. From deep in the shadows at the rear of the room Grymm Darkstorm, the death knight giant steps forward and pulls back a curtain. Upon the veranda is a white dragon…it is far beyond venerable or ancient. It is antiquated and covered in dust…cobwebs are visible in the cracks of it’s ribcage and its eyes are hollow chasms where a dark red light faintly burns. Two phrases reverberate through the audience.

    Pying Liu
    Dracolich

    Many know that Knobhin had a necromancer lich on the staff, but it seems that virtually no one has ever seen him.

    Knobhin: I trust myself to drink too much, pinch the serving women’s butts and talk loudly. I trust Grymm to lay down and let me lop off his head if I so desired it. And I trust Pying Liu to give me truth.

    Pying: I am humbled exalted one. I did as you bid and searched their chambers and secret caches. I found this…

    The duplicate prototype collar floats through the air and comes to rest on the steps leading up to Knobhin’s throne. Unnoticed Grymm plants himself behind Vardon…who is oblivious.

    Knobhin:Ahh…the truth comes out…one of you does have designs on betraying me. But whom?

    Grymm snatches Vardon’s head in his massive hands and a howl of agony that outstrips any sound imagineable issues forth from the once proud general’s throat. Everyone watches as his energy is drained and the lifeforce is squeezed from his mortal frame. A smoking withered husk is held aloft as the armor and regalia of the rapidly disappearing warrior fall off his bones. All that remains is the barest scraps of flesh and sinew. More disturbing is the face. Grymm isolated the face from his attack and must have somehow cast a gentle repose spell in accordance with his energy drain. Vardon’s face is present on the skeleton…just as full and lifelike as it was moments ago…
    Knobhin is giggling and clapping his hands like a kid on Christmas.

    Knobhin: Fantastic Grymm…I love it! Find that man a robe and bring him a tray with some drinks…I want him to be my waiter from now on! No wait…even better get him one of those little Fez hats and some shiny shoes with buckles…skip the robe.

    Knobhin skips off his throne and dances himself over to the veranda where he dips a tiny bow to the dracolich.

    Knobhin: Great work as always Pying. What can I offer you in return?
    Pying: A black dragon recently entered the city. I wish to perform a few tests.
    Knobhin: Fatal?
    Pying: Entirely possible
    Knobhin: Ehh…fine by me.
    Pying: Then with your leave…

    The dracolich flies away and Knobhin turns towards his crowd.

    Knobhin: Any other problems I need to expect? Let’s air them out here and I can show mercy.

    No one volunteers for a does of the gnome’s “mercy”
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    When it just feels like work:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Brom and the casters were present during the execution of Vardon and Brom is not too happy that the events unfolded could be traced back to him.

    Brom: How about some warning before you pull something like that?

    Ven: We were simply performing a test run…the anticipated results outstripped our estimates.

    Kemen: Any word on who is replacing Vardon?
    Brom: For right now Grymm is pulling double duty. Everything I hear says that Knobhin is entirely accurate…that guy who cut off his own head for the gnome.

    The two casters scratch their chins and get back to scheming…

    Ferrous wants to strike out against Freyja and take him out. This time in force and personally. Brom says that he overheard another guard who works under Callista mention a private carriage picking up the drow and taking him to some unknown destination.

    Ferrous: Then we should follow him.

    Follow him is exactly what they do. They also take note as he enters the carriage…he is alone. His vampire minions are left behind. The carriage brings Freyja to what might be the single most expensive brothel in all creation.

    Ferrous: What the Hell…

    Exploiting Brom’s positon as a bodyguard (now to Grymm) they enter the brothel under the auspices of Grymm celebrating his promotion by treating his guards to a night of fun.

    Freyja is led to a series of room at the penthouse level of the brothel where Callista awaits him.

    Freyja: you want to buy me a woman?
    Callista: No i intend to breed you.

    Freyja: Lady…I don’t think you are keeping up on current events…I am in no condition to do anything other than collapse.

    She chuckles and gestures to a small vial of powder upon a table.

    Callista: A few grains of this tincture in a glass of wine would leave you intoxicated with desire and sustained for hours. The whole vial…I honestly am not sure what result that will have other than to severely dull all your senses save for those I require the use of.

    Freyja: Why would I agree to drink it?
    Callista: What makes you think you have a choice?

    As Freyja is being forced to consume a performance enhancing drug…Ferrous and Brom are trying to figure out a way into the penthouse. They stick out like rather sore thumbs though. Ferrous is a death cleric and hardly the most engaging of people and Brom is a massive half giant with a nasty chip on his shoulder. They panic for a moment when Callista sweeps into the room and begins selecting an exotic range of woman. Any strange or unusual race is called out and as she sees the pair of them she beckons for them as well.

    Callista: You…large one…you bear the insignia of Grymm?
    Brom: Yes..my lady…I am a guard in his service.
    Callista: And your friend?
    Ferrous: A cleric my lady…

    Callista: I can use you two. Follow these workers to the penthouse ensure they are not disturbed. They have orders to follow and I don’t wish interferences. Have your cleric friend attend to their client…I do not wish him to die in the throes of his work.

    (Kemen and Ven are laughing themselves into hysterics and Freyja is just sitting there shaking his head in disbelief)

    Ferrous: I will take care of him my lady. I promise he will receive my FULLEST attention

    They make good on their word…they do not interfere. When the last worker takes her leave of the drug addled drow…they slip to his side and get down to the real work.

    Brom: Cards on the table time old friend. You have so much dex and wis damage I doubt you could finish foul language let alone put up a fight. So you got two choices…either the strain was too much and we arrange for you die in the room, or you come clean on everything you are doing.

    Freyja takes plan B and he spills his guts about murdering and taking control of Orangebeard…he confesses to murdering Chulainn and lets them in on his corruption and control of the Furies.

    Ferrous: I was definitely going to kill the twit…but he is worth a lot alive. Rule Question…can I target causing wounds to only affect an area?

    Me: What did you have in mind?
    Ferrous: Negative energy castration…
    Me: I’ll allow it…

    The duo of Brom and Ferrous report to Callista that Freyja survived but the toll was too much and they think it made him sterile.

    Callista: A possible outcome…but his work is done. Take him back to his apartments. You cleric…return to me in two weeks time at this place.

    They salute their agreement and take Freyja back to his apartments. They help themselves to taking the very last reserve of his own blood and leave him incapacitated in his own bed. As they close the door Freyja whispers…

    Freyja: You should have killed me.

    The group ends up with basically two weeks of downtime. Freyja is left alone to recuperate at Callista’s orders and he naturally heals back the bulk of his stat damage. Kemen and Ven continue to prestage another wraith outbreak and manufacture collars while Brom builds a detailed lay out of the castle and throne room. On day 14 Ferrous returns to the brothel and confirms that there was a 90% take rate on Callista’s plan. Freyja batted 9 for 10 and things are progressing as they should on a biological standpoint. A contingent of vampire slaves escorts the nine lucky ladies to an offsite house where they will be sheltered and monitored. Ferrous accompanies them. Upon his return he calls another white flag meeting.

    Ferrous: I think we need to work together on something.
    Kemen: We are listening.

    Ferrous divulges everything that he and Brom did at the brothel and tells them about the expectant mother safehouse. He gets Freyja to be forthcoming over the hold he has on the Furies and Brom shares his details of the throne room.

    Ferrous proposes that they assault the safehouse and abscond with the nine mothers to be. They can hold the offspring as leverage and a separate bargaining chip over both Callista and the Furies. Brom will get them all insignia and raiment of Grymm’s guards. If they pull it off, it will look Grymm stole Callista’s little side project. He says it is too well guarded for them to attack unless they do it together. He expects heavy vampiric resistance and needs the full force of the group to make a go of it.

    Kemen: What happens once we have the mothers?
    Brom: We split the nine three ways…3 a piece.

    Everyone agrees to play nice for the one night except Freyja who is still brooding.

    Freyja: I will do this on one condition. I want a duplicate intricate collar and 2 pints of the half giant’s blood.

    Brom: Not interested in opening my veins for you…
    Freyja: I wasn’t interested in getting my manhood radiated by negative energy…we all make exceptions.

    Peer pressure pushes Brom into acceding and the five of them+Orangebeard make plans to go assault a maternity ward.
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Baby Mama Drama:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The gang assembles and get themselves into position for attacking the safehouse. The order in which everyone is moving has never been more contested…no one wants to leave their back exposed. Once combat gets rolling most of the turmoil takes a backseat. Brom expands from the get go and goes wading into vampires swinging his gargantuan scythe. Orangebeard is hot on his heels and the three casters snipe from the flanks. They lack finesse and just keep kicking in doors and laying into vampire guards. Alarms and sirens are going off like mad and they just keep barreling forward.

    Kemen: We got company…

    Wraiths are pouring in through the walls and Orangebeard breaks off with vampire clerics to stem the undead. Ferrous becomes Brom’s shadow and keeps healing spells flowing. Freyja and Kemen are sniping with spells and channeling to pick off stagglers and wounded while Ven assists Orangebeard.
    The cleric and anti paladin prepped some positive energy healing spells which they are using to burn the undead. Kemen is putting flaming spheres and fireballs to good effect and they make quick progress. Captain Krona is personally guarding the mothers and is shocked to see who is attacking. He goes mist form and tries to run only to get bombarded with spells in the process. They force him back to vampire form and pound him into dust.

    With wraiths pouring in through the walls they are forced to escape through the house’s cellar and its drainage system. Brom is covering their retreat and taking heavy damage from the swarms of wraiths. He and Ferrous are the last ones out and Ferrous rebukes a trio of wraiths to buy Brom separation….he then casts Hold Person on the half giant who is left in stunned silence.

    Ferrous: Sorry big guy…we need a fall guy and you happen to actually be a guard for Grymm.

    Everyone else bugs out and runs while Brom is left to be drained by the wraiths…

    Begrudgingly he draws an X on his character sheet and gets up to grab a new one.

    Everyone else is left with a bunch of flailing and angry kidnapped women. They rush to escape and are soon beset in the sewers by wraiths following them. Trying to keep the women from bolting ties up a lot of resources and hands and Orangebeard ends up directing his clerics strictly for crowd control. They manage to reach the docks and get the hostages aboard the Unicorn’s Fifth. All nine women are removed to a farm a few miles outside the city and a grumpy Orangebeard leaves his vampire clerics as caretakers.
    The following day sees a series of sweeps from the Furies themselves as employees in the service of Grymm are roused from sleep and taken directly to the cloud giant. Following their meetings multiple job postings are made available and lots of fresh zombies are seen clearing garbage from the streets. The splintered group is promoted to level 8 ahead of Brom’s replacement joining events.

    Brom’s replacement character is an asimer sorcerer and pyromaniac. He is there strictly for blasting. He is introduced as a former colleague of Kemen’s. And he instantly joins the Kemen faction. He calls himself Brim. Collectively no one tells Brim where the mothers are being held. Kemen and Ven have an idea for killing Knobhin which they run by me in disrection…I am surprised at their thinking to say the least.

    Ferrous throws in his lot with Freyja and basically tells him that they can hash out their differences after the gnome is dead. He thinks Freyja has the best shot at coming out on top and wants in. As they are haggling over some plans they are visited by a furious Callista in Freyja’s apartment. All doubt vanishes the moment she sees the two of them together.

    Ferrous: I was just checking on him to make sure he was on the mend.

    Callista: You dare BETRAY me? Both of you!?!
    Freyja: I am sicking both clerics and Orange on her…no point in trying to reason with her, we are going for the kill.

    Both clerics hurl themselves at Callista with suicidal abandon and try to grapple her. Ferrous hangs back and tries to land a few spells that get repelled via spell resist. Orangebeard dances in with rapiers flashing and darting like wild. He manages three natural 1s in his first five swings.
    One of the clerics manages to grapple her and upon contact Freyja dances in and connects a lay of hands for positive energy damage. Ferrous tries to rebuke her and fails miserably. She commands undead…and sends a grinning Orangebeard towards Freyja. The commanded Orangebeard also commands his vampire lackeys to attack Freyja as well. Ferrous slips out the door and decides to make a break for it.

    Orangebeard bull rushes Freyja against a wall and the two clerics pin him against the wall held immobile. Calmly Callista regains her composure and strides to the preservation unit in his apartment. She pulls out all of the glass vials and carries them to the bound Freyja.

    Callista: I am done playing. I will drain every ounce left in your body and keep it for special occasions. I will track down the breeders you so bluntly stole and nurture them into fine specimens. I want your final thoughts to rest on the knowledge that I will spend decades savoring the last of your lifeblood along with that of all your illegitimate bast….

    Ferrous: Called Shot stake to the heart…

    The cleric took her monologue as an opportune time to drive a stake through her distracted heart. As she falls he casts Hold Person against the immobilized Freyja and then rebukes the trio of vampires long enough to drive them off. He presents his holy symbol to keep them at bay and helps himself to some drow bood.

    Me: How much are you taking?
    Ferrous: Leave him at the brink of death…I want him alive but barely.
    Freyja: What happened to our alliance???

    Ferrous: I said alive…and sorry, cant resist the urge to take advantage of your helplessness.

    Ferrous leaves the near death drow in his apartment and returns to the Unicorn’s Fifth.

    Ferrous: you said you need a substantial amount of drow blood….here is everything he had.

    Kemen: Excellent. I think its almost time for Knobhin to meet his end.
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Strangest Dance Ever:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Knobhin receives word that his Furies have planned a special party in his honor. They have made a one of a kind zombie circus and wish to have it perform for him. The eccentric and childish overlord is positively thrilled at the prospect of a zombie circus and he eagerly awaits the show. All of the Furies are invited as is Grymm….Callista is oddly nowhere to be found. Kemen and Ven walk into the throne room in top hats and tailcoats…perfect ringmasters.

    They lead in a cadre of zombies (those guards who angered Grymm) and they have all dressed as clowns complete with oversized shoes and horns. The zombies make a mockery of typical circus humor as they move in stilted fashion trying to throw pies in one another’s faces…or slap each other with inflated balloons. Knobhin is eating it up and laughing himself silly. Kemen and Ven split the zombies into two groups and have them each parade themselves over to Grymm and Knobhin. Kemen controls the zombies nearest Knobhin and they create fake “firing” squads with cherry pies.

    Kemen and Ven: Zombies…surround your target!

    “Present Pies!”
    “Take Aim!”
    “Fire!”

    Cherry pies explode all over the death knight and the gnome….and once they start dripping pie filling off themselves….the Furies suddenly get that far away look that only a drug addict that senses a fix can get.

    Knobhin tries to start talking…but amidst the swirl of airborn pies…Ven cast Silence…

    All 20 Furies no longer capable of hearing their liege smell the sweet taste of drow blood dripping off the giant and the gnome. A flurry of fangs and claws flies at the two as Kemen and Ven backpedal out of the Silence. An inferno quality fireball erupts from the gnome and scorches the vampires trying to reach him.

    Kemen: Crap…he has silent spell.

    Brim enters the room with Ferrous and they start flinging everything they have at the gnome.

    The death knight kills all but three of the vampires and finally goes down himself.

    Knobhin puts up a valiant struggle…killing all ten of the vampires around him. He is an explosive force of nature and the silence barely slows him down. He emerges from the Silence and as he starts to speak Kemen springs his last surprise…

    A small glowing rune on the nearest zombie lights up and as Knobhin looks at it comphrension dawns…

    “Caution Zombies may explode at random”

    The twenty shuffling zombies all have explosive runes cast on them…and the gnome already haggard goes boom.

    Freyja limps into the room as the last of the explosions are wearing off…he is not just at death’s door, but has his feet up on the furniture. His entire body looks bloated and distended. His eyes are sunken into his head and he stumbles every third step. As he enters the room he vacates right in his pants. He raises his arms up to reveal his wrists being slit…

    Freyja: Last Call…bar is closing…

    The remaining vampires eagerly leap upon the drow and suck him dry…with his final gasp he groans out a single phrase.

    Freyja: Enjoy the flavor you mother***ers…cause I drank a ton of holy water before coming here.

    Not sure if is this a hard and fast rule…but holy water is acid to vampires for us…and Freyja just put a boatload of acid in his blood. His final act is to take out the last of the vampires as they drink themselves to death.

    Kemen turns to Ferrous

    Kemen: Stake him…don’t want to risk him coming back

    Ferrous dips down to stake the deceased Freyja and as he does Kemen reaches out and touches him, hitting him with Hold Person.

    Ferrous:Oh no….

    Ven gestures to the shadows and a cadre of wraiths come out…surrounding the immobile cleric.

    Kemen: nothing personal.

    Orangebeard is given full control of his own actions once again and happily celebrates his liberation.

    Kemen, Ven and Brim hightail it out of the throne room as most of the controlling forces in the city are now running amok. They are fully ready to board the Unicorn’s Fifth and get the heck of out of dodge. Only problem with that…every single wraith in the city is now surrounding the edge’s of the capital. Overhead…Pying Liu circles directing traffic amidst the hundreds of wraiths now under his direct control.

    This campaign went on an unintended permanent hiatus at this point. Freyja was set to reanimate as a vampire (his staking being interrupted) and I was going to have him and Ferrous take full control of Pying Liu and leave them as the antagonists. It never happened. Other campaigns cropped up and these guys were left in the wind.

    I found this a lot harder to write, owing mostly to the fact that I was working behind the scenes. I am methodical in tracking encounters,loot and items… as a DM I was too focused on story events so these will probably read a lot different than my other write ups. I also realized upon writing that a whole lot more role playing takes place when I am DM, and far less combat. A lot of the actual stats and rolls took effect but I was too busy trying to keep up with their plot developments to really track and record them all. This was much more typical of our average campaign lengths. Six-Eight sessions with a group then we would move on.
    Campaign Logs:

    Spoiler
    Show

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Mewtarthio's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    I actually thought that was a pretty fitting end. It reminds me of classic heist movies like Ocean's Eleven, where the heroes pull everything off but screw up the getaway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
    Mewtarthio, you have scared my brain into hiding, a trembling, broken shadow of a thing, cowering somewhere in the soothing darkness and singing nursery rhymes in the hope of obscuring the Lovecraftian facts you so boldly brought into daylight.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Axinian's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    California
    Gender
    Intersex

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Your players just defeated a Big Bad way beyond their pay grade by throwing mundane pies at him.

    I'm fine with the story ending there. Nothing can top that.
    Spoiler: Campaign Journals
    Show


    Axinia: My campaign setting.
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Denmark

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    What an entirely epic story, and you did a great job of writing it.
    A good job to both you and your players. I very much enjoyed reading through it
    English is my second language, but I will be more than happy to explain myself in Danish.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Titan in the Playground
     
    nedz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    London, EU
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Excellent write up — very amusing to read.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' — Actually it's worse than that.


    Completely Dysfunctional Handbook
    Warped Druid Handbook

    Avatar by Caravaggio

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Doorhandle's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Indeed.

    Are all the players still friends after that?

    Also, I would imagine their would be a whole lot of people rolling up elves and the like after hold-person was used to ruin so many lives, had it continued...
    Can't write. Can't plan. Can draw a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    "In his free time, he gates in Balors just so he can kill and eat them later!"

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: City State of the Enigmatic Overgnome-Recap

    Are all the players still friends after that?
    Yeah we all still get along. There is an unwritten verbal agreeement that if you are playing "evil" characters then all bets are off. To me that is the most enjoyable part of an "evil" campaign. There is a whole meta game (game inside the game) of working out your means of hidden alliance, backstabbing and double crossing. Involves a lot of note passing, flying idea past the DM with discretion and pre-plotting.

    My Thoughts:

    Spoiler
    Show
    A huge element of this campaign ended up being the drow's blood. At the conception of the "gritty city" campaign I knew that a gnome bard would be my Big Bad. I knew that he would have an eccentric group of captains and that manipulating those captains would be paramount to overall success. What I never anticipated was the route they would take.

    I expected the twist of Freyja being the last Drow on the planet to mostly be a drawback making him recognizeable. He came to me from the time the first die was cast with the whole my blood as a drug concept. I am an absolutely huge fan of The Wire, and when he brought up the idea I gave him a one sentence reply...

    "Just remember...Never Get High off Your Own Supply"

    In the context of THe Wire this meant "if you sell coke and dope then you shouldnt do coke or dope because its a self defeating cycle". For him I twisted it to be: You are going to be forced to bleed yourself dry because of how intoxicating your blood is. His reversal of gorging himself on holy water and allowing himself to be a vampire poison trap was inspired.

    I originally envisioned the group entering the city and slowing working their way up the chain of command by establishing a reputation for efficiency and results. Instead they took every opportunity to kill off the competition, oftern without having to get blood on their hands. I had to abandon most of my plans and just wing it for the majority of events. As events developed I strived to turn them towards story rich events. I feel like I did a fair enough job, my one regret was not saying "no" enough.

    Kemen and Ven manipulating the serial number system to cast aspersion and doubt on the captains was something I never foresaw. THe serial system was meant as a way to tell the players " they track their wraiths" it was meant to be a deterent to whole scale slaughter or turning. Instead they warped it to an advantage.

    Knobhin's downfall was a combination of two factors. First...Kemen and Ven brought a hilarious means of attacking him. Mocking up cherry pies with drow blood filling, and having a zombie circus was too great to pass up on. I established Knobhin as a bit childish and impudent. They ran with that characterization and brought a method that fit his personality. The second factor was tension. As characters got shuffled in and out tensions were rising, and I could see a cliff on the horizon...one that ended with the city in shambles and a wake of dead characters across the landscape. When Brom became Brim he came to me and said that his eventual goal was to off the rest of the group and work for Knobhin.

    Side Notes:

    *One day I would love to run a Nine Princes of Amber type campaign where I get 9 PC's to all play the various half drow off spring. All nine would vie for the throne and compete against each other.

    *I really wanted to see a PC in Pying Liu's grasp...ideally Ven. He was going to be an off the charts mad scientist type.

    *They completely side stepped searching for the vampire's home crypts...their true sanctuarys which would have been twisted Monty Haul caches. Some absolutely bad ass magic weapons and equipment...but all of it cursed with something nasty enough to make you cringe...but with a such a strong benefit that you would have been tempted to use anyway.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •