A cruel, evil, nasty little trick to pull on your players - I love it - just gotta use it someday
Having got that off of my chest - on to the serious critique
The absent minded wizard is a bit of a cliche, but in this case that's not at all bad since such a character always acts as a good start point - somebody to create trouble without actually having to be a "bad guy"
Regarding the recovery of spell components, personally I'd deemphasise the hack-n-slash at little (after all the party is certainly not at full combat strength so throwing a heavy battle at them is probably a little unfair).
You could easily cause just as much confusion, and of course GM amusement, with cryptic clues (like the Hags' Eye thing, which I really liked BTW) or belligerent NPCs who either don't believe the PCs' plight or don't see why it's any of their business.
You could even have Vendawen entirely forget what one or two of the components are - he remembers that he needs something but he just can't seem to recall what it is - the PCs now need to do a little research of their own to reconstruct the spell for him - doesn't help of course that the only PC who can get access to the magical libraries is the party's stupidest members (who happens to be riding in the mage's body) - he, he, he
BTW - I would LOVE to see the write-up for Vendawen - just how powerful is he - and just how absent minded
How did this end up with a 2/5? I love it, it has so many possible avenues of adventure, with plenty of room for the GM to add things in without lacking in details. It fit really well in my campaign, so I ran it not long after I read this post. Despite making my PC's rather angry at first :) it ended up being a lot of fun. They all enjoyed the challenge, as well as being randomly jumbled up in each other's bodies. Definately not your typical quest!
Per your request, Vendawan the NPC, added the link to this page. I gave clues as to the supposed absent-mindedness, and some examples, but I only gave the vaguest indication of his power, given the preference to avoid system specific details.
I removed *MY* implementation of the adventure as superfluous to the plot itself. Your suggestions are good ones, especially about the forgetting the components entirely. The problem *I* ran into was that the "fun" of their situation was over after their second combat, they were just getting irritated that they hadn't taken care of the situation yet. I had to pay it off quick(get them back in their bodies), so there were only two combat encounters(and a bunch of role playing ones, maybe 6 of those). For what it's worth, I found the role playing encounters to be MUCH more enjoyable for both the players and myself. The combats were arduous, to say the least.
Perhaps I could write up another plot simply about the hags eye(which got removed with my implementation). For those who hadn't read that part, the wizard sent them to look for a "hag's eye", which the players assumed was to be plucked from the skull of a hag, but in actuality is a scrying device that hags create. The wizard was not very clear about the precise nature of the hag's eye, and nobody thought to ask. The misdirection served to extend the adventure quite significantly. Go to Comment
5/5. The boss in a game could be assembling this ship as the PC's battle with his bodyguards/hired thugs/undead warriors, making it critical that they overpower them quickly before the full power of the Niwrad can be realeased. Go to Comment
Awesome power here - almost a munchkin item - basically destroys whatever it hits (in theory)
However it is by no means easy to use - it can take a long time to sufficiently reconstruct the ship to deconstruct the intended target - hours, days, or even weeks or work might be required (GM can use this to control the item)
The fact that it disassembles itself each time it is used also gives the GM some control over its' power
Of course the current owner would most likely have it as fully assembled as possible, although it is quite conceivable that he doesn't know what it does (making ships in bottles might well be his hobby). Or there again, maybe he does.
Overall - certainly powerful, but nicely balanced - 5/5 Go to Comment
I really like the mechanics of this item, however I can't Imagine the chaos would ensue if it was damaged on the players person. As a GM I would like this Item, As a player I would LOVE it. Go to Comment
Well thought out, well planned plot idea. As the others have said, slightly unoriginal, but that's all right. Couple of questions: why does Merxes think destroying Germos will curry favor with the Immortals, and will it actually and why? I would like to see Merxes written up, as well as Armegeddon's Engineers, they sound fun. Go to Comment
The only thing I would of asked was that the main NPC was actually posted as an NPC and linked back to the plot.
The items being written up would of been nice. This is more of a campaign set up that a specific scenario. It might be more functional if it was broken up into a number of scenarios linked together by the NPCs and the Items. Go to Comment
I second both MoonHunter and Dragon Lord here, except I do like "save the universe" plots. In my opinion this campaign is not terribly innovative, we have seen undead armies and disassembled artifacts before. There is a lot of DnD heritage here, the rod of seven parts and X number of DnD campaigns, as well as a taste of Diablo.
I do think this will be playable, experience tells me so, and I like the build up of the campaign. The execution is well planned and I bet most players will remember this campaign for a long time. It is all dependant on how the individual scenarios are built, but from your notes they seem well executed. You could possibly post those scenarios as plots and link to them from here, though I realize that is a huge effort and not likely something you have the time to do.
Overall 4/5 with one point subtracted due to the lack of originality. Go to Comment
I don't normally rate "save the universe" type plots too highly, mainly because hey are usually so unbelievable (?? if the local Mr Evil is so uber-powerful that the kings' army can't defeat him how do you expect half a dozen disparate adventures to do so ??).
However, in this case (somewhat unusually) it does appear that a small group of dedicated heroes could affect the outcome where a whole army might fail. The trick (from the GMs point of view) is to break this down into a whole series of sub-plots, effectively running the main plot as a campaign arch. In fact the plot (as written) almost begs for this approach.
Each of the parts of the Connivance of Mortality can easily become a scenario (recover or destroy it before Armageddon's Engineers can find it), as does the Niwrad (Merxes would certainly want to locate and destroy this).
There is also room for a little political intrigue (if that's your players' bag) designed to prevent, or at least limit, Marxes' attempts to recruit allies. Trelimond Kedia would not entirely trust Marxes (nobody ever fully trusts a turncoat) so it should be possible to poison his mind against the villainous mage, similarly at least some of the wizards tempted by his offer of looting the Trove of Wonders might be swayed if reminded of Marxes' duplicity.
It should also be possible to disrupt his planned alliance with the orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins. After all, these races are all traditional enemies, not only of man but of each other as well, so a cleaver party might easily convince them that they have been betrayed, if not by Marxes then by Kedia or one of their supposed allies.
Individually none of these would stop Marxes completely of course, but each would weaken him. The war is going to happen whatever the PCs do, but the more they do the less likely Marxes is to win.
All in all, a good implementation of an old idea that manages to avoid the normal cliches - 4/5 Go to Comment