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
The first thing I would like to say is response is that your comment is about the size of a sub :)
Anyways, yes, that is a good summary. I'll get around to throwing up the summary soon.
1. A background, you say? I might get around to it.
2. Sperrius: I like the idea of an early encounter with the chap. Perhaps instead of having the PCs see him in person, I'll have the peasents tell wild tales about him, talking about his frostbitten nose (good idea, by the by) and great physical strength.
3. The algae is supposed to be hard to find and discover. I might leave some hard to find additional evidence in some forgotton about corner (maybe near the moss with Katrin Borea), but say that is at the DM/GM's discretion.
4. I was thinking about the repitiveness of the SOP. In the Part Three, their are mountain creature's the PCs will have to fight off, as well as wild magic. Perhaps have the PCs fight against a Yeti and the SOP in a three-way battle?
5. Yeah, there is a bit of railroading. I'll try to think up another way to go about it. Maybe have Katrin try to get the PCs to steal the information with her?
There are some aspects of this which I already use in making most of my magical items, and that is that the best and most unique of magical items are not made by enchanting a weapon - they are made by exposure to greatness - By greatness, I mean both positive an negative. Great Valor, Great sorrow, Great love. A focal point of intensity in time which is so significant that things - even mundane objects - belonging to that focal point cannot help but be warped and augmented in ways not fully understood by man. These items are not simply 'enchanted' by some two-bit wizard, but are truly magical in the purest sense of the word. Mundane spellcraft cannot undo these augmentations because they are not really of magic itself, they are something much more - they are an evolution, of sorts.
Anywho, this is good in the sense that the essence and deeds of a person can be the cause of magical weapons, as opposed to some wizard-nerd in a lab pushing his thick-rimmed glasses up his nose, slapping a textbook '+3' enchantment on a sword and talking to himself in a nasaly voice, "Oh yeah, thissle be the sweetest sword ever! I'm gonna call it 'ButtSlicer 2000!' " Go to Comment
As with Shadoweagle's comment, I like using unique powers in weapons. A wizard creating a generic magic sword or weapon whenever he feels like it makes a campaign over powered and in my opinion, senseless. Go to Comment
I would consider adding this to the Quest about this theme: Quest -- What Makes a Weapon Magic. You'll get a little more XP for it, and it'll be linked to a bunch of related submissions. As for the system itself, I like it. You're basically saying to your PCs that they can't pre-purchase a magic weapon, since the powers it possessed in its previous owner's hands are gone, but they CAN expect their weapon to develop abilities of its own if they continue to use it. This puts a neat spin on the game, and it's an idea that I'm very eager to try out one day. Go to Comment
I'm not sure what I feel about this one. The idea is good, but I feel like it's missing something as it stands now. For one, you say that Fred managed to create three spells but then list only two at the end. And I have a hard time believing that a person of average background could develop a whole school of magic within a month's time. Just seems a bit fast to me, but perhaps Fred is positively brilliant.
I think what I would like to see are some more rules to this. Maybe the longer a work is procrastinated, the more "procrastination power" is built up? So the novelist who puts off writing his book for ten years winds up with a positively brilliant manuscript at the end of it? I don't know. Either way, the idea will need a lot more fleshing out before it can be really useable in a game setting. I'll have to think a bit more on it. Go to Comment
Ariel seems quite powerful; able to handle 30 skeletons and one of your semblances in a single melee, at the age of 16. Nevertheless; interesting lass. I like the idea of a situational berserk against only a particular type of foe. Go to Comment
This makes NECRO look really dysfunctional. Why lock up a virgin with a man after telling her that her virginity was the reason she would be a sacrifice? Why wait nearly 14 years to sacrifice Ariel rather than just find another virgin? Why did they wait 3 years to try to kill her after her escape? And why send such a small force against her when she'd already slain a demon right in front of them?
When you say she was a revenge child, does that mean she was used as revenge against her mother? Or that she takes revenge for her mother?
Where does her power come from? Simple berserker rage wouldn't explain the ability to come back to life after being drained of blood. Was it something she came across while imprisoned?
(Why didnt I reply to this one before? I thought I did. Anyway...) she didn't take on 30 skeletons and a semblance. She took on less than 30 skeletons and a semblance. The guards may be cowards, but they are not completely incompetent. They must have killed some of the skeletons. Maybe Ariel had to kill 20 or so of the skeletons.
Still, she is powerful. But only when berserking- random thugs and rapists on the streets of Grathen would only be fighting a normal girl. Who has a pair of daggers and knows how to use them. Go to Comment
Some very good questions. I'll have to go back through the sub.
Anyway, lets take this question by question
I'd say that perhaps NECRO lacked another cell for the girl, or couldn't imagine that they would dare risk NECRO's wrath if they did challenge them. As for why wait till Ariel was old enough to be sacrificed (all the cliche virgin sacrifices use teens instead of, say, babies- NECRO is no exception), they would want to remain inconspicuous. Too many disappearances would attract too many eyes. And as for the wait, well, NECRO had no idea where Ariel went to after she fled. And they had seen her take out a demon, so they wanted sufficient force to kill her. And they sent a small force because they still had to use stealth- Grathen would probably notice a large group of undead strolling through the streets.
As for the bit about the revenge child, takes revenge for her mother.
Her power comes from her desire to get vengeance. Revenge (perhaps a god like Nemesis? But I was thinking more along the lines of a primal force) picked her as her own, and she gained powers from that.
Does this answer all you questions? I'll go through the sub and clarify a couple of points at a later point. Go to Comment
Ah, the missing link between the mindless shambler and the self-aware, sentient undead such as Liches or Vampires. An undead creature able to rationalize and think for itself after a fashion, but with limits. I like that they retain some of their skills from life. The Semblances would definitely be more useful for subterfuge, than direct confrontation. Go to Comment