Seems like I got to it after a lot of edits because I think this is a great NPC. I haven't read the linked plot yet, but I don't have to in order to enjoy the use I could get out of this person.
As is, he is an honorable knight thrown from his order and now an escaped convict. Still honorable from what I gather here, with a past he needs to hide out of necessity. Shouldered with guilt and probably with a need to track down the truth and clear his name he will always have an alternate, primary motivation besides what the PCs may expect from him. A very nice background for a complicated NPC.
You could use the betrayed background to good effect in many ways and, while the initial setup is specific with the knights of thrul and all that, it would be a very simple thing to make it fit in almost any game.
I like the idea of him coming to the rescue of the PCs in some woodland encounter where they need help and are grateful for his intervention. He still has too much honor to allow the bandits to attack innocents. After he saves them he is very protective over information they carry and/or trying to keep one alive to question. He may go out of his way to keep some alive too with the guilt of his past deed haunting him. He could care less about the gold but if any is found he could be way too curious about it causing some initial discomfort with the PCs.
After the encounter he could protect them some more, show them some safe paths and generally get them on their way. Then one night he may just disappear without a word leaving the players confused. If they travel the woods around this area he could reappear or they could learn who he really is. Go to Comment
Could almost turn this person into a Robin Hood type character. Living off the land, chasing bandits and saving or assisting caravans or local peasants. Always the priority is trying to clear his name. The common folk that live in the woods see him as their own personal hero just by happen-chance and probably don't know anything about the issues he is going through. All they know is that he keeps roads safe and often times throws some goods their way that he gets from the encounters. He is after the truth, anything else is just not needed by the honorable knight. Go to Comment
This is good stuff. It's well written and the part where he chases his horse for two days is pretty cool. My favorite part, actually.
It looks like you want Wilhelm to be a pretty basic character. He's the good knight, falsely accused, and now an outlaw fighting against his old buddies. You don't need a lot of layers there. Your players aren't going to know or care about how he got his horse, or that his an orphan. Just a basic guy with the most straightforward story possible. In that capacity, I think Wilhelm is just the guy.
However, I think everything should be a little bit weird, and cliches should be avoided like plague rat kisses (does he have to be an orphan?), I vote that you play up some of the more interesting parts of this story.
Does he run the bandits like they were knights? Do they catch horses the same way he did? Because that would be a cool way to get horses and take all the horses, if they catch ALL of the wild mustangs. Is he best friends with the cook? I bet he doesn't practice sword all day long. Does he read? Is he hitting on a woman in the village? Does she know who he is? Has he been trying to figure out who is behind the plot? Has he been stalking Leanard, hiding in his house and going through his stuff? Messing with his sock drawer?
I read the other article, too. I don't feel like a "highly honorable" man would go around bribing priests and trying to start a war through sneaky methods. It should be something more drastic. Maybe he feels like the conspiracy in Thrul goes all the way to the top, and even the king needs to be overthrown. Maybe he is going insane. Maybe there is no plot. Or maybe someone is deceiving him.
Overall, I'd just say (1) throw something unexpected in there, and (2) tighten up Wilhelm's motivations. He'll be a solid sub. Go to Comment
Solid suggestions, Forganthus, and I'll put some of them in there I think that I'll put some extra bits in their to make him more interesting. And no, he doesnt't have to be an orphan, I just am him one to give him more freedom to hang with the knights. I'm thinking now of making him a runaway, who joined a gang and became a thief. And now, since the knights rejected him, he's regressed into his old way of thinking- which would help with his plot.
And as for something unexpected- hmm. I'll get back to you on that one. Go to Comment
There are A LOT of averages in this text, average, average, average. I suppose if you're looking for just that, then this is the thing. Frankly someone with such a standard name as Wilhelm and the word average in a long text... Well, just not for me I suppose. Go to Comment
Reads like a nice convoluted plan that is complex enough to leave plenty of room for PC interaction yet easy enough to follow. Not sure I could add anything without knowing which way you are intending to go with it. But as far as that, it seems you have a solid plan for it all already. Go to Comment
On the positive, all the players are introduced clearly and Wilheln's plan comes across as feasible and well though out as if it was constructed through much deliberation as suited to the context. There are bits of the writing that I don't like, though, such as "This push-and-pull effect would have the desired effect" with the word "effect" appearing twice in one sentence. But despite such personal preferences over expression, I still think it a solid piece. Go to Comment
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