Summary (so you know I understood it): The PCs are hired to find a missing explorer who is lost in an inhospitable no mans land called the Craggy Peaks. This plot is outlined in 7 acts and is presented using a straight forward GM's voice/stage direction tone and perspective. During the first act the plot is outlined and the PCs get a chance to touch base with foreshadowing and back story. In the second and third acts the PCs have encounter their main adversary during this journey a foreign military unit called the SOPs. During the fourth act the PCs find a tropical jungle filled cave hidden in the mountains and the explorer they were looking for. She is encased in some sort of stasis moss pit. Then plot the requires that she, the explorer, gets captured shortly after her entrance. Then the plot requires that the PCs get captured. Next the PCs and their captors are moved back to the jungle cave and there the PCs are expected to deduce that the true treasure in the mountains is a thermophilic algae that will make a super fertilizer. The PCs must then escape, and return to their employer with the explorer and perhaps with the algae. If the PCs fail to deduce that the algae was the treasure than no big loss to the plot, the PC's goal was to return the explorer. .
Things I suggest changing or adding:
I really like the structure of the story and the presentation the material. The story is what it is, not point discussing that. So the suggested changes and additions are minor and just points of story telling or communication that could be handled differently.
1) The first thing I would add would be a summary or background section prior to part 1. Just something to lay out the situation to a prospective GM. Like an abstract.
2) Commander Sperrius: I would add an early encounter with commander sperrius. Perhaps Sperrius is at the Castle in Riversend on the first day the PCs are there. He could be part of diplomatic party or trade mission. (Or course he has the motivations for being south). This would allow the PCs to meet him, connect with him and perhaps build some tension between him and the PCs. An early non-lethal encounter with Sperrius would also provide a mechanic by which the PCs can learn about Pila and the SOPs. Two specific things I would do is have at least one of the PCs engage in sparring match with Sperrius and one his subordinates. I would have the matches be tough, so even if the PCs win they will consider Sperrius to be a threat and if they lose the fight they will likely be looking a little payback later. That is also why to include a subordinate, Sperrius is important to the plot, but a subordinate can be defeated without throwing a wrench in the works.
The second thing I would do with Sperrius is present him to the PCs with visible evidence of long past frost bite. Perhaps he is missing part of his nose and few fingers on one hand. He could then tell a story about the Craggy Peaks. This would add foreshadowing to the dangers of the peaks and it would give Sperrius the appearance of having a home court advantage in the later encounters. Any rate having Sperrius be in the first and last act would give more of an arc to the story.
3) The algae: Based on the content of the note/journal entry it may be just as easy to assume that the treasure is the oak tree. As the treasure isn't really intuitive, (it would take months to prove that the algae is the super fertilizer), you may want to provide another mechanism for determining it . If you really want the treasure to be the algae I would add some more details and more in game mechanics or events to help the PCs reach that conclusion. Perhaps there are other hot spring caves, but they don't have the biomass cause they don't have the algae. At any rate, I think that will need a little more unpacking.
4) The SOP encounters may get repetitive. This isn't it a problem so much as a challenge. I think having repeat encounter with the SOPs will actually help hammer in the point and give slower PCs a chance to catch on to the over arching plot. But providing a few more details for these encounters and suggestions on how to keep the encounters fresh would be helpful.
5) The railroading: Anytime you require PCs or NPCs to get captured you have railroad the plot. The important thing in act 5 is to get Sperrius and the explorer in the same room. Perhaps you can write up some other scenarios by which a GM could achieve this.
Overall I find the strongest point of this is it accessible structure. Go to Comment
Shadoweagle, I don't think I had a good point. You are right a GM can chose to take or ignore what they wish. I think you are also right giving GM other tools that they will have at their disposal will actually make things more accessible. I think your comment implies an excellent point, what makes RPGs special is that you can lift up a random rock in an RPG and the world goes on. RPGs perhaps have a depth that can't be reach in other medias such as video games or movies. I look forward to more details. And I will never accept or make the "more details will make this less accessible argument again!" Go to Comment
-Will the PCs be able to get maps or histories of the land prior to the blight from sources outside the Blight?
-What do the neighbors of the Blight think, have they been raided, by what
-The guy with his back turned to you eating noisely and he turns to reveal black dead eyes and fangs. This has been done to much, I'd have to change it if I used it this.
-What would a metaphysical investigation of the land determine, detect evil, or detect magic spell and if not a s spell system then what does astral shifting reveal, are their ghosts roaming around?
-So can you talk to these "plants" using magic or forestry abilities?
-How will these people respond to mind control or jedi mind trick type things?
-Can they burn coal or peat?
-The opened ended nature to the PCs is awesome, the sad innkeeper is my favorite.
After this point I got so caught up in the story, I stopped talking notes. This adventure is not exactly my style, and I say that not complain or annoy, but I hope that it will add weight to my personal observation that I have not read anything better than this at the citadel. This is so complete and well organized that I am really jealous. Thank you for writing this, thank you for the appendixes and so on. Thanks for pushing me to read it with your vote exchange. Go to Comment
Every economic idea has its day. But more than the idea, which is fun and fantastic, I enjoyed the style of writing, there is a story! with a conflict, an arc and humor that goes along with this idea. Not only is it a fun and nicely satirical idea, it is an amusing story as well. Go to Comment
shinning yellow eyes,
traveling around in a giant crawling communal dwelling
work with anthropomorphic metallic beings
"I can't abide these Djavarga, disgusting creatures." Go to Comment
I have lost tons of stuff with hard drive fails. I feel your pain. But when you, Scras dies and some Ph.D. student working a thesis about your life discovers these spiral notebooks your work will have second life.
Cave paintings would last longer than anything mentioned. Go to Comment
And advancing evil glacier....damn you Nekron! To the Dragonhawks!
I think for an epic death, you have to have a character that PCs really want to kill. A guy with a lot hit points, floating weapons, and 3-D combat home is obnoxious and challenging, but they will never learn his name. This character has no personality-his brain is rotting. His shield is smarter than he is, and based on the write up I think the personality of the encounter will be dominated by his shield no matter how many weapons this guy may literally pull out of his ass. He has no back story, and it wouldn't matter if he did have a back story because the only facts you see relevant to him are those that relate to the combat grid. Yeah he was one of three Troll Kings of Cloudtseeth, but that only suggests something: it promises a narrative this doesn't deliver. How is this a story telling tool?
There is a lot of information, but no mechanism to transmit those ideas to the player. If this is a really cool boss than how are you going to get your character interested in fighting him before the fight? Are you going to give them the chance to prepare and plan for this battle? Unless some dying Uronothi whispers "You may have won this round, but you will never get past Ghorion the weapon master" or some other heavy handed crap: the players need never learn his name. The structure of the post is really haphazard and reads more like pre-story notes.
To be fair, every one else seems to think this is pretty awesome and I don't need to down vote you. Let us know how Ghorion went over with you players, and if you had to break the 4th wall to unpack the character. Go to Comment
A small band of squirrels seems to be fighting high up in a tree over a shiny nut-sized object. Can you retrieve the prize without scaring the squirrels into running off with it? If they do, can you manage to chase them down?