Against unarmored foes and animals this weapon could have a excellent demoralizing effect, in that most animals will fleet fire and heat, and a man impaled with a red hot bolt is likely to scream and writhe in agony far more so then a cold one. (Especially in the penetration is minimized from the softer hot metal.)
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Practical against heavily armored knights? Probably not, (that;s what basic crossbows are good for or using this one without heating the bolt.) but when facing gryphons, or other feathered/furred beasts a heated weapon is the perfect companion.
I stumbled across this quite by accident while browsing the Npc section. While a useful bad example there is a certain amusement and poetry factor to the sub that is rather... Memorable
After a pause I thought of an actual application for the sub, as written, for my next fantasy game session. Seriously
Imagine the characters coming across an utterly devastated town, ruins and the remnants of bodies laying scattered about like an angry child might toss their toy soldiers in a fit of rage.
Shorty after searching the town for survivors they find a very young girl, maybe 3 or 4 standing amidst the wreckage still clutching her mothers severed hand and staring at the adventurers in shock.
When asked what happened she recounts the sub pretty much as written. How this little one knows even a fraction of the history of the demon is the twenty thousand dollar question. (perhaps overheard by her demon worshipping parents? Or on the lips of a drunken bard who knew not what horrors he was about to call forth?)
Dealing with the creature as it continues its rampage of destruction would be the rest of the plot line. (As well having fun messing with the suspicious players who will likely entertain the notion the little girl is either the demon in disguise, or possessed by it somehow.)
A 1.5 and HOH, not because it's of outstanding quality, (obviously) but as a reminder to myself and others then even the worst example can be used to great effect by a creative GM with a little effort to create an interesting session that would never have otherwise occurred to them.
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Apologies for the late return to vote and comment until now, but this sub got lost in the shuffle.
I;m not sure I have much unique to add beyond I really enjoy this tale and the plot hooks at the end are a nice bonus and some truly unique. (Especially the child support one)
5/5 and a HOH
At first the plot seemed a little railroadish to me, until I got deeper into it and noticed there was a lot more freedom of choice (and consequences from those choices) then first apparent.
The plot as written can work great to introduce a thief NPC to the parties group, or even replace the thief NPC with a player character rogue if the GM is feeling especially creative.
The extra system less stats for the NPC's involved were a nice touch and makes it easy for a GM to quickly give them more system specific attributes without needing to come up with them from stats and the initial description.
For those running a higher tech campaign a similar basic plot concept and adventure based off of this can be used with minimal effort. (I can imagine a similar plot unfolding on one of the rim worlds of Firefly or back water markets in Star Wars.)
Nicely done, and a plot I will be using in my Warhammer Fantasy campaign rather soon.
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A nicely adventure to spring on the party after they have become attached to a helpful NPC that accompanied them on adventures in the past. For a variation one could also substitute a relative of one of the PC's to add a more personal touch to the adventure.
A nice place for some lighthearted adventures, and likely to make most characters (and players) rethink their views on goblins being "little better then rats and other vermin."
Good plot hooks as well, and quite a memorable main character, I can see his accent and mannerisms sticking with the party for a long time after the visit.
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More Plot Hooks
One of the more prominent merchants in town accidentally left his wedding ring (or other bit of precious given by his wife) in his clothes when turning them in for a wash; and now he's desperate to get it back.
The hunt is on for the halflings and rogues within the party to sneak in and find the ring before it gets tossed out in the wash water and before the merchants wife notices it's missing.