I wasn't overwhelmed when I started reading, but by the time that I reached the dance competition, I was impressed. You found an original way to approach the "tough bar full of tough guys" meme, and for that I congratulate you.
At last, I have a way to punish the player I have that invariably takes "Perform: Dance" as one of his skills and breaks into a jig at the slightest provocation. Go to Comment
While I would have presented the same scenario very differently, a lot of the differences revolve around my personal prefernces as opposed to yours. I prefer to provide a lot of specific details (assuming that a GM can cut out the ones that don't fit), while your preference seemed to be to keep things generic, allowing the GM to fill in areas for their own world.
I would have like to see more specific information about why the necromancer has set himself up this way. He has set up secure doors which require passwords to enter, but no information is given about why he placed riddles to allow entrance. Is he just absentminded, and expects that he can command his own undead to give him the reminders as needed?
The necromancer called a meeting with a bunch of powerful associates. Why? Is he their minion, master, or associate? If this is an adventure for inexperienced characters, a room full of powerful mages could be an ugly encounter: Hopefully, they're not hostile ("You guys killed off Bob? OK! Bill, you owe me 20 gold pieces, you bet he wouldn't get himself killed until October."). Go to Comment
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
Not every prophecy needs to be meaningful to effect a game. In the Lord Dunsany play, The Golden Doom, a child's scrawl has an entire kingdom struggling to puzzle out what sinister prophecy it portends.