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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    May 2012

    Default Need some plot help as DM

    In a game I ran, the PCs got into a complicated situation and would like to hear creative suggestions for following the plot

    short version: half my party was captured, unconscious, trying to break into the local assassin's guild. I'm not sure what to do next with them.

    Longer version, with plot details: The party is working for an NPC who is a powerful businessman (businessdwarf, actually) in the big local port city (from now on "Dwarf VIP"). Dwarf VIP has some enemies (political struggles as such), so hired the party to look for his son (he suspected a kidnap). They found the son (from now on "Evil Cleric"), who wasn't kidnapped but instead getting into evil cult stuff, and tried to bribe the party into killing his father, Dwarf VIP (he hates him and could really use the inheritance money for cult-stuff). When the party refused, evil cleric threw a few undead to them and fled. The party tried to return to warn dwarf VIP but got trapped/distracted with a few sidequests which helped reveal the evil cleric plan's (finishing a half-completed ritual that the cult leader was making to achieve lichdom 800 years ago).

    So, to the current scene: the Evil cleric got to Port City before the party, hired the assassin's guild to murder his dad, and went away in a ship (the ritual must be finished somewhere else). The party got just in time to kill the killer; they didn't know that evil cleric hired the killer, but they half suspect him... most city rumors instead say that it's a political assassination attempt). They started tracking back the killer (asking a lot of questions), which worried the people of the guild, who sent a guy to follow the party. The guy was spotted and interrogated, finally pointing them to where to find more about the guild, some tavern in the shady neighborhoods of the city.

    The party (Cleric/6, Ftr/5, Sorc/6, Drd/5) and a 4 mercenaries hired by Dwarf NPC went into the tavern to "investigate". The druid stood outside (the player was out of town, so she asked for that to be put aside of the action). The sorc entered invisible, and sneaked through a backdoor, where there was some kind of illegal gambling place. Unable to get through another inner door, she ended up blowing the door up, the patrons running away, the rest of the party+mercenaries-druid bursting in, and a lot of bad guys started pouring out, and then a high level guild member (Ftr/7 + Rogue/5) started beating them; they kept trying to fight but eventually the fighter and the cleric went into small negatives; seing this, the sorceress managed to fly away.

    So in my next session, I have to decide if/where the Cleric and fighter wake up alive, and what options do the Sorcerer and Druid (she'll be back) have.

    Here's what I've been thinking, but I'm interested also in ideas outside what I have, because nothing makes me fully happy

    a) Cleric and fighter die, make up new characters. It's a bit anticlimactic, but it's a possibility my players and
    b) Somehow they manage to escape/be rescued. I can't think of a way to do this without making the Guild look weak (it's not supposed to be)
    c) They ask for ransom to Dwarf VIP. They have been following the party so they probably know they are affiliated. This goes well with the Guild (they are not killer psychos, they are evil for the money). However being an NPC sounds like a deus-ex-machina solution, I'm solving the problem for them

    In options b) and c) I'm probably considering taking all their stuff, which might be quite harsh, but not uncalled-for; but it feels like mere punishment without adding to the fun. It will also impact the fighter much more severely than the cleric.

    So, what would the playground do?

    [This is a PF campaign, but I'm posting in the general forum because the opinions I need are not system specific]

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    J-H's Avatar

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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    How many guild members did the party kill in the battle? If they only killed a couple or none at all, then it's just a business op gone bad for the guild. Guild releases them in exchange for compensation for losses and damages, as well as a promise (geas?) for a couple of unspecified "favors" at some unspecified point in the future.

    If they killed a lot of guild members, then a negotiated release could still work, but they'd have to pay some blood money or something.

    The thieves guild is there to make a profit, within the bounds of also keeping its members safe and gainfully in the business. What's their rational choice to make?

    Do they know about the Evil Cult?

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    Players are more creative than you give them credit, give them a little time and one group or the other will establish an escape plan. If necessary, the fighter and cleric's players can play a couple of NPC mercenaries until their characters are rescued.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    How many guild members did the party kill in the battle? If they only killed a couple or none at all, then it's just a business op gone bad for the guild. Guild releases them in exchange for compensation for losses and damages, as well as a promise (geas?) for a couple of unspecified "favors" at some unspecified point in the future.
    They killed 3 member thugs, 2 Guild hired mercenaries, and took down (but didn't kill) another... and the PC hired mercenaries killed the tavern owner which was a well regarded member. A girl who served drinks was killed too, and 4 gamblers ("collateral damage"). They hurt and colorsprayed a few more, but nothing permanent. They also ruined a gambling night and blew (explosive runes) a perfectly fine door and lock They are also worried that their hideout might be known

    So, only one important guild member dead but a lot of extra damage. I'm thinking that the prisoners won't go down without some serious interrogation first about what they know and what they're up to.

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    If they killed a lot of guild members, then a negotiated release could still work, but they'd have to pay some blood money or something.
    The Guild can take all their stuff without asking (and they will). Are you suggesting that they also ask for external compensation?

    Some form of blackmail would suit them well, but I'm not sure what I could base it on...

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Do they know about the Evil Cult?
    Nope, I imagined that the evil cleric just hired the Guild as a regular customer. But the party doesn't know, so I can retcon that a bit if it improves the story. I also that the guild has some hidden clerics of Norgober, but the party hasn't seen any signs of religious stuff inside, so that's an optional too...

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    The guild is impressed with the sheer level of mayhem they can dish out. It just so happens that their are 4 vacancies that have recently opened up as well as an unfulfilled contract available on a prominent dwarven businessman.

    I mean they are going to kill the guys son, he is not going to take it lightly however they slice it so they may as well "slice it" preemptively.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    How worried about "FACE" is the Guild? I mean their front was assualted and perhaps they are found out. IF they are powerful how forgiving are they? If it was my team in that situation. I would have the assassins kill them. BUT this would open up for some good drama. Have your Druid and sorcerer know that have to do something and do something quick. They have a short window of opportunity to save their peers. This will give them a time to shine.

    or Secondly if the Assassins guild is truly out for just the money. They could sell these captured adventurers to underground human trafficers. The most unmoral kind to make an example out of them. YOU have a nice side quest and a opportunity to have them saved or save themselves. Have some innocent by stander give them kudos for that display where everything went down and then give them a warning about if you want to save your friends .... then give them a tidbit of what might happen to them.

    Either way i don't think the assassins guild will be forgiving. IMHO!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    There are some clever plans that the DM has to work out. This isn't one of them. I see two options.

    1. You start the game by telling the sorceror character, "You get outside, where your druid ally is. What do the two of you do?" Let them decide on the rescue plan. After all, only half the party is captured, and the other half is right there. Does the druid have a spell to take out that one thug quickly?

    2. The fighter and cleric awaken in chains, by being kicked in the sides by somebody's hob-nailed boots. When they are awake enough to be aware of their surroundings, they discover that they are at the foot of some guild official, surrounded by people with crossbows pointed at them. The crossbow boltheads look quite sharp, and have a green substance on them.

    The official speaks. "You cost us a dozen people, and a perfectly good guild headquarters. I don't have a good reason not to kill you, and that is after all our line of work. You have thirty seconds to convince me that my life will be more fulfilled with you alive rather than with you dead."

    Then the players decide what they are willing to do for the guild.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    You can always decide to inject them with a poison for which only the guild has an antidote. Tell them this, give them a business card and set them free. They will come back.

    Of course, the druid knows about poisons too, so the party can probly delay it a bit. It just inflicts a few penalties, but nothing they can't cope with. Now the party has a choice: live with it, talk to the guild, or think of something else.

    I would suggest a poison that penalizes the fortitude-save. The druid can try to minimize the effect, but the guild will still know their weak spot, making it dangerous at best to attack them again.

    I'm not sure about the system, maybe a disease is better, but the point is the same. The guild takes their stuff, and knows their weakness. If they want this resolved, then they will go to the guild. As far as the guild knows, they have to. They don't know the party is made up of those pesky and unpredictable PCs.
    In the meantime, the party is reunited as quickly as possible (easier for you), they gain options in stead of lose them (good for them), and they have enemies that can hurt them, or think they can (good for background).
    Last edited by Dazdya; 2012-10-16 at 10:30 AM.
    Wait- I'm picturing it RIGHT NOW!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    May 2012

    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    Thanks a lot to everyone for the nice ideas.

    The game is in about 10 days so I have time to change plans or figure out details, but here's what I'm thinking:

    The guild is seriously annoyed in general with these guys (the PCs). Some of the top dogs are impressed, yes [thanks @Blightedmarsh], but also worried about the consequences of the attack. They are worried about their lost cover, but there's not much they can do about it (given that some of the attackers escaped, and even if they hadn't, they wouldn't be sure about who else they have talked to). So the guild has no reason to release them. They won't hire them or something like that either (it's an organization strongly based on loyalty).

    They do however have several reasons to keep them alive (information, and possibility of getting some extra gold), but they don't have to tell that to the PCs. I'll probably get them interrogated as @JayR suggested, to be able to get a profit from the situation and try to assess how bad was the lost of cover. If the PCs can't provide anything of value, they'll be sold as slaves and put to row in a galley [thanks @Talos] where they might be found later.

    Meanwhile theGuild is in a rush to move out from their cover, so they have to carry a lot of stuff/people/hostages/prisoners; this gives the other half of the party chances to get some info and perhaps recover some of the equipment.

    Thanks again, and if you think this can be improved, I'm all ears, but at least I'm satisfied with this

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    J-H's Avatar

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    Is the Guild confined to this one city, or are they a chapter of a larger alliance of guilds?

    If they're part of a bigger organization, then, if they choose to release the troublemakers, they brand or tattoo them somewhere out of sight but easy to check (shoulder, collarbone, etc) with a marking that indicates "these guys are on probation; if they are captured making trouble for any part of the guild anywhere, kill them."

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Is the Guild confined to this one city, or are they a chapter of a larger alliance of guilds?

    If they're part of a bigger organization, then, if they choose to release the troublemakers, they brand or tattoo them somewhere out of sight but easy to check (shoulder, collarbone, etc) with a marking that indicates "these guys are on probation; if they are captured making trouble for any part of the guild anywhere, kill them."
    I didn't know before you asked (I build the world as I need for the history, mostly). But now I know: they are just a chapter, and PCs are going to get oh-so-tattoed . Nice touch.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Need some plot help as DM

    I can't think of a truly compelling reason that the assassins wouldn't kill the Cleric and the Fighter. They may wait to do so after torture and interrogation though.

    As for rescuing them, what have the Druid and the town guard been doing? The cavalry could show up to save the day easily in this scenario.

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