The Slipshod Revenant - This shambling undead was brought into his present state by a necromancer in a great hurry. Thrown together without attention to detail, his maimed body is crippled by missing and damaged parts. As he stumbles along, he clutches an arm that fell off soon after his animation.
Aware of his damaged condition, this undead feels a vague sense of sympathy for others as mangled as he. He is likely to freeze up if ordered to attack severely wounded foes or finish off cripples. As uninjured foes can easily outdistance him, he is not much use in a fight. Go to Comment
The Thin Man - This unfortunate was accidentally buried under a pile of debris, but was unearthed later and animated. The crushing weight of the stone that buried him has left its mark: The poor creature's remains are distorted and squashed flat, being only 4" thick. His flat body can fit through surprisingly narrow spaces. Go to Comment
Tempest blades had their origins in a discussion with Shadoweagle, when he was contemplating the storm photographs that inspired his grim adventure, The Town Eater. I approached the picture in a different way, thinking of a creature that might dwell and prosper in a ferocious storm, riding the storm winds and dancing amid the lightning. Go to Comment
The plot suggestions really made it work for me. The ill-tempered leviathan seemed like just another oversized critter until the suggestions for how to use him were added: They made me look at Pohn more deeply than I would have otherwise. Go to Comment
For some reason, the site's code often drops apostropes and quotation marks when you copy text from Word documents. Apparently, the symbols aren't the same as the ones used at Strolen's, so the site doesn't save them. Go to Comment
I like that this is a situation that can't be readily solved by resorting to violence, with potential for engaging roleplaying.
In order to facilitate the roleplaying and players' "outside the box" problem-solving, I would put together more history of the house and its inhabitants before I ran this. The mysterious demise of the entire family needs to be understood so that clues can emerge during the roleplaying, clues that may help resolve the Issacs' unresolved deaths.
Perhaps they died in a disastrous accident, rather than by foul play: A carriage accident or toxic chemical foolishly tossed into the hearth. It's common in ghost tales for the spirit to reenact its final hours: Perhaps these spirits are moving toward some final catastrophe, with their possessed bodies along for the ride. In such a case, the challenge may become one of preventing history from repeating itself, rather than laying the spirits to rest. Go to Comment
This adventure makes good use of some less-than-stellar subs. I particularly like the climactic struggles in the chilling realm of the Ice Ghouls.
On the other hand, I'm not overfond of the "betrayed by their patron" style plot, but given Saber Rat's history, that seems to be what he's known for. I'd definitely make the party work to run him to ground: The treacherous rogue would become a recurring villain as they hunted him, intent on revenge. Go to Comment
The problem that I have with plots that feature the PCs being betrayed by their patron is that (in my experience) most player characters are kind of paranoid. They sleep in their armor unless forced not to, are hesitant to eat meals served by strangers, cast divinations upon strangers whenever they can get away with it, and generally worry about things.
In order for a betrayal plot to work, they need to either be forced to work with someone that they do not trust or they must be lulled into complacency. The first option can be a real rail job. "I KNOW this guy is going to stab us in the back, but we're stuck with him" is an annoying plot device if used more than once. On the other hand, lulling their suspicions often requires some degree of deception. If the PCs have a fair chance of detecting this, they will usually derail the plot ("My Sense Motive skill? It's maxed out, of course!"). If they don't have a chance to realize that they've been duped, then it's a rail job like the first option.
Someone with a great understanding of their players and a lot of finesse may be able to fool them honestly, but most such plots aren't nearly that subtle. Go to Comment
A "shanghaied" plot is one where the player characters have little choice but to participate in the adventure: That isn't the case in this plot.
A good example of an otherwise well-done adventure plot which suffers from a coercive plot hook is Trapped in a Schemers Web, in which the player characters are falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned to start out the adventure. Go to Comment
Sokolov is the kind of NPC that could help define the character of an entire region. His fame could draw aspiring magi and lawyers seeking to learn from the ultimate source of law and justice.
On the other hand, rebels and freedom-fighters could see him as a symbol of oppressive, inflexible law, even if Sokolov would prefer those laws be changed.
The nobleman's face was drawn, his voice hoarse as he explained his dilemma. "The contract of alliance was written up by the mage Sokolov, but we never could have expected that the entire noble house of Sanderport would die and their rule be replaced by that of the Pirate Lords! Now we are magically bound to defend the Pirate Lords against our own trading partners!
"I cannot break the contract, or hire others to do so, but if someone were to act independently..." Lord Shackleston muttered softly.Go to Comment
A solidly done species. They have plenty of detail, and the selection of plot seeds ensure that they could easily be "plugged in" to space-based games.
They're definitely part of the classic "Space Opera" trope: The "lost tribes" of Konarian III. If they need anything, it's some sort of twist to make them unique. As they are, they fit in as a solid element for a classic science-fiction plot, but I'd want the PCs to discover some surprising facet of their race or technology that would make them different from the other "wandering" star cultures that we've seen on Star Trek or Dr. Who.
Since they're meant to be "grafted onto" another race in the setting, they would seem to be a golden opportunity to throw in cultural quirks that form a stark contrast with their established cousins. As an example, if they come from the "bumpy forehead people", a race of honor-obsessed warriors, perhaps these exiles are peaceful and philisophical. If they come from the "grey people", who enjoy meddling with the destinies of "lesser races", perhaps these folk have a strict hands-off code and avoid all communication with others. (I can see it now: "I'm sorry, but the communication tech that you spoke to last week self-discorporated. We are required to do so after we are defiled by contact with other species. I will do so after we have completed our discussion.") Go to Comment
I like them, but I'm looking forward to the "Bonsai Treeherds", even smaller cousins of the Dwarf Treeherds.
I would expect the Dwarf Treeherder culture to split into two subgroups: Some would be nomadic, traveling north in the spring, then retreating south as the frosts advance in Autumn. These would be the "deciduous" treeherders. Others would remain in place year round. These "coniferous" treeherders would become dormant in winter, seeking out secluded groves in hidden valleys as safe havens to wait out the cold.
Of course, some treeherds might develop symbiotic relationships with other races. In Winter, they might be brought into the homes of their partner species, relaxing in pots of soil while they wait for Spring. For the winter holidays, the children of their host families might deck them in festive holiday adornments, enjoying the company of their strange visitors. Go to Comment
A worthwhile little cyst of evil! I appreciate how you made sure it was "generic", able to be easily "plugged into" any setting.
I suspect that the cult doesn't keep anything incriminating in the first portions of the hidden shrine, so intruders or guardsmen that violate their sanctuary may be fooled into thinking they're innocuous.
"They seemed kind of unsavory, Captain, but I don't think they're the ones abducting girls for sacrifice..."Go to Comment
(From the chat yesterday:) An interesting dilemma would be for the cult's victim to be someone that the PCs already despise, so that they're tempted to let the cult finish its sacrifice...
"I'm sorry, Captain Strongold, but after you framed us for treason, we kind of lost our motivation to save you from the cultists of Bloodthorn. Bye, bye!"
Alternatively, one of the cultists could be needed to complete a prophecy or otherwise save the land. The player characters might be forced to make a deal with the cult in order to prevent a worse evil from rising...
"Only the Death Rite of Bloodthorn will keep the arch-demon Ethalioc within his prison! Dare you allow the terror of ages to escape?"Go to Comment