Saturday, May 11, 2019

Campaign summary where the party met almost everybody and learned almost everything


This summarizes the events in a 15 long adventure RMU campaign, made up of 27 game sessions (and 6 character design sessions) of about 4 hours, where 5 players went from lvl 7 to 12, got to meet a lot of key players in the Shadow World and achieved stuff that should go into the timeline.

I'm not kidding, if you read this you'll ruin any chance of being surprised by the secrets of Kulthea.

Ok, now that you are here, even now, I'll say things in the order they happened so you can quit reading if it's too much information for you.

The characters

The party was composed of:

Dagnuul "the Changramai dropout and pirate wannabe"

A Kinsai monk, who always carries rum for himself and whoever wants a shared sip. Although his rich family got him into the Changramai monastery as was his dream, once he saw how the monastery rejected assignments when people couldn't afford the monks, he chose to get out before completing his training, which cost his family even more money. He vowed not to guide his challenges on the money paid but on the need of those asking. His most powerful possession is a pair of Jinteni bracelets which hold the spirit of a Great Spider that can communicate mentally, shoot web spinnerets (close distance grapple attack), grants fixed ranks in climbing and stalking, and create web ropes.

Gnaar "the possessed monkey chef"

A low level Jungle Gark ranger, who was captured by Zaen cultists and injected with an experimental Jinteni device that carried the mind of a Mind Leech mother (see Emer III p.52). The injected Mind Leech was played as a Venturer (adapted to RMU using monk costs and most of the lists ported over from the Combat Companion). Experience was 90% to the Venturer and 10% to the Ranger, though most of the time the Leech would let the goofy Gark do as it pleased, it would "take over" in serious situations and combats, and since it couldn't properly use the speech center of the Gark's brain, it resorted to hand signals, which made for some really interesting moments. Most confusing of all was the fact that the Gark was called Gnaar, but referred to his inner mental companion as "Gark" and never took the time to fully explain what was going on to the rest of the party. His most powerful possession is a Jinteni staff that has bonus and defenses against undeads and stores spells.

Ikina "the child foreteller"

A Kuluku seer (adapted to RMU using most of a mentalist costs and the spells from Mentalism Companion) who was met by the players in the previous campaign. We created a "Pre-teen" flaw that meant she didn't get most of her cultural ranks, compensated with talents that allowed her to cast some Seer spells at higher levels. Her most powerful possession is a Jinteni shield that allows its surface to be used as an immobile medium for scrying, grants Grace bonus to some Seer spells, stores spells, increases Power development and teaches the Concentration spell.

Lenna ka Tofe "the smashing merchant"

A Laan thief, who used her skill costs to build a massive bonus for trading and all things social, but would resort to war mattock swinging when talking was not a possibility. This character was created for one of our RMU playtesting sessions, as a farmer who had lost everything to unlife machinations, and was helped by the Loremasters to get her life together afterwards. Her most powerful possession is a Jinteni war mattock with an embedded lightning elemental, which does additional electricity criticals, can be thrown a short distance and returns flying on the same round. It also provides a bonus to Strength, reduces the fumble range and will destroy most objects with ease (Doorcleaver).

Varyan Jeranian "the shield creator"

A Loar adept, and the first attempt to use RMU alchemy rules. The character was trained under the best of the Namar-Tol artificers, but was determined to put her creations to good use, learn the secrets of ancient cultures, and ensure the safety of those she traveled with by casting defensive spells and crafting armor pieces. Her most powerful possession is a Staff of fire bolts (with increased range and bonus), that gives a bonus to all spell casting, is a +2 adder, and can cast Shock Bolt once per day.

The one before

Before I tell you about their adventures, you must know that the story we played continues right after the previous campaign, about which you can read here.

The party was assembled following the taking of Zaen by a coalition between the Kuluku, the Malaqani, the Vorloi and Voriig Kye. They were entrusted with the quest bestowed to the previous party by the Orhan gods: find and rescue Andraax.
Said previous party had no idea what that meant, but they where otherwise occupied with the aftermath of the campaign, mostly trying to keep Voriig Kye from having all of Zaen for himself.
So this new party, a group of good-hearted people gathered from those helping in Zaen, was tasked with finding just what it meant that Andraax was captured, where he was, and how to rescue him. Of course the first weird thing was that Andraax was supposed to be dead!
They were given powerful artifacts from the loot in Zaen (each player had the chance to express what kind of item they wanted, and I used the RMU alchemy rules to craft one item for each with equivalent power measured in TUs). The Adept was the exception since she could bring an item given by her mentors in Namar-Tol, although the power was the same as for the others.

Also, they were given a helper NPC in the form of Yolim, a sentient doctor's pack that could cast healing spells and communicate by touch telepathy to help with Medicine rolls. The campaign ended without them knowing that she was previously a Lotana cleric of Yaalc Muul specialized in healing, who on the brink of dead decided to continue her life helping others by being transfered to a magic item.

The story

1) The first of its name

The party starts out from Zaen, with a request to meet the members of the Ordakurdoth (E. Club of the end of the world) in Lethys. These people were scholars who had met the previous party and were intent on learning what had caused the earthquakes and chaos at the beginning of 6053. They had sent word to Zaen saying they had information they needed to share in person.
Using a combination of walking, Jinteni portals, boats and air ships, they set out to reach Lethys.

2) The safest trip

The party reaches Orv Cibur as a stopping point towards Lethys. They exchange tokens that represent the commercial agreement between Namar-Tol and Zaen, and request horses, a wagon, and lots of adventuring gear. They are loaded onto a Cloud Caravel, driven by a merchant that is taking is sister to Lethys for a special treatment requiring the herb Huith.

3) Nothing wrong

Before reaching the city, the air ship is attacked mid flight by weird looking clay worms, mostly on the underside of the vessel. The captain requests help from the party, and provides a flying harness to help the fight (which was on board to be used when making repairs). By combining flying, ranged attacks and wall-walking spells, the win the battle. The captain is unsure about the origin of the worms, and attributes it to some generic sabotage between warring guilds.
Once on Lethys, they reach their appointment. They enter the library that hosts the meeting of the Ordakurdoth in its basement. The owner of the place shows them the way down, and the party finds an empty room. They are faced by Foxwixolpi, a shadow demon that explains he was summoned to keep no one from leaving the room, after a summoner took the members of the club prisoner some days ago. The demon is friendly to the party since he knows they work for Zaen, whose leaders have benefited powerful demon lords when they killed Sigirus (in the previous campaign).
The only way the demon can oppose the summoner's command would be for the party to find the payment the summoner offered and give it first. Using the seer's spells the party finds the item (the demon knew it must be in the same room) and he goes without having much to offer.

4) Track your demons

Thanks to the seer's past visions, they now have a clue as to how the summoner looks, and scrying spells allow them to find her in the city.
When they go looking for her however, it seems the woman is a simple tailor who uses her lunch breaks to go with other girls to spy on some soldiers they fancy.
Unsure about how to proceed, the Gark takes matters into his own hands and sets fire to the woman's workshop, escaping with some money and a portrait of one of the soldiers. This latter turns into the most discussed event in the campaign, since they can't seem to match the visions with this woman. Eventually they decide to return the money and the portrait, along with some extra cash for compensation of the arson. All of this was done with subterfuge and long distance spells, so the poor woman never knew why her workshop burned, or why her savings box was spared the fire, and had extra money inside.
After this, they never let the Gark wander on its own again in a city, fearful of his fire-starting ideas.
Eventually the campaign took them elsewhere as you will see, and they never found out that the summoner was a prominent figure in the city, mother of a key politician, and she always goes to do her dirty work with a glamour of the tailor, whom she envies because of her flirting with the solder.

While stalking the city, before the arson event, the monk encountered a homeless drunk preaching about the end of the world, who eventually invites the party to join a group of like minded people outside the city, in a clearing that can be reached by watching the pulsing light of a special stone. As it turns out, the group was on the lookout for those preventing the end of the world, and had helped with the kidnapping of the Ordakurdoth. Some spectral ghosts appear at the meeting and attack the party. The preachers tell their part in the story, and mention that the stones for the gathering were provided by a man who encourages their view. They also have a book left by this man, who was considering it before taking the kidnapped scholars. The book is magically encrypted with a poem-password: spider. The content tells of a resurgence of the cult of Hrassk in the vicinity of Rhakhaan, and their sacrificial holidays, one of which requires several people and is only days away from occurring.

5) Spider Prophecies

The party wastes no time, gets on their wagon and runs to the location of the Hrassk temple mentioned in the book.
They scout the area, and as they attack the temple, are assisted by a mysterious figure. After they battle summoned spiders and teleporting priests, the stranger reveals himself as Ikton, priest of the night spider, a cult of Reann (who was a player character in an older campaign: more about that one here).
Luckily for the captives, the ritual had not yet begun. Most of the rescued members of the Ordakurdoth refuse to go back to the city, and instead ask to be left at the villa of one of them, where the party is well received and offered a feast in their honor.

6) Late Checkout

The only returning member of the club is Cufune, a Loar scholar who teaches arcane magic in Lethys, although she has no spellcasting abilities herself. She explains that they were kidnapped suspiciously close to the moment she tried to check out a seemingly innocent book at the library of Lethys. "Jaiman Weather: island revision and tendencies" is a book by the Loar climatologist Poltrish, who research theories by Andraax on Essaence patterns, the time of the year, and the weather currents.
The party subtly makes contact with a friend of Cufune inside the library and manages to get the book without raising suspicions. The book explains how Andraax presented a thesis on Essaence and weather fluctuations by studying the Watching Isle, near Ormian, and that is believed to be the reason why is tomb is located there. It is even suggested that the tomb of Andraax might include more studies never published.

7) Tour of the Tomb

The party reaches Ormian and from there finds passage to the Watching Isle, leaving Cufune to research in Nomikos while she waits for them to return.
While exploring the island they avoid dying at the hands of a Will of the Wisp in the swamp, and the Gark finds out about some old ruins underwater which trigger some memory from the inner Mind Leech.
More explorations yields an encounter with the Segri Dorane, a former Nomikos book keeper who lives as a hermit, and tells the party about the Witch and the Tomb. The witch explains that in order to decide whether she can let them enter the tomb she needs to think it over sleep, and offers them to stay the night, in which they have weird dreams about the origins of Andraax and the layout of the tomb, and are granted the ring on the next day.
Inside they find Tya'ar, explore, open the secret vault (I replaced the mega killer item with less powerful things and some potions they never used). Then came the moment when the seer tried to read the awareness in the orb, which resulted in some visions, a coma, and the party rushing her to the operating table in the medical room, where she came within seconds of having her skull open by the automated systems. I can't recall how they stopped it, but she recovered and received the Andraax mind copy (come to think of it, I never used that fact in the whole campaign).
With the help of Tya'ar, they enter a records room, and start asking questions and getting some answers, mostly in the form of projected videos.
Here the Mind Leech got a map from places in the world where more like him could be found, an old cooking recipe that might be of interest to Andraax, and... learned that Andraax was nowhere that the Tomb sensors could detect, and he hadn't entered the complex in some time. They also learned about the Daenku Ahrenreth, got some videos showing the initiation ritual, and footage from the death of some of them.
The presence in the orb and Tya'ar help the party understand what the Ahrenreth meant, and how Andraax was the last one. They also learn of a special "location protocol using geostationary satellites", which requires a member of the Ahrenreth to activate a machine in the Tomb using their membership ring.
They had learned that the members of the Circle dedicated their lives, natural or extended through a sleeping process, to be there whenever servants of Kadaena or the Unlife threatened the planet. Since they didn't know how to proceed, the adept decided to pledge herself to the ideals of the Ahrenreth and recited the speech she saw the members of the Circle gave in the video. I can't recall now what I had originally planned for them to do at this point, but this was not exactly it for sure. This was one of the changes in a campaign that a GM can't foresee. Since there was no real power to the words that she recited, the presence in the orb decided the intention was enough to show them a list of Andraax associates, a last know location and trust status for each of them:
- Elor, in NW Jaiman, a confirmed ally, registered under at least 70 different forms
- Nameless One, no location known, trusted ally, suspected of being able to foresee events
- Jenkyna, in NE Emer, listed as unknown ally status, potentially dangerous
- Andejaan in the Isle of Jade, listed as proceed with caution. The party informed the orb about her demise (in the previous campaign) so she was removed from the list
- Voriig Kye in NE Emer, trusted ally
- Thule in central Emer, listed as proceed with caution
- Varyan in the Tomb of Andraax, confirmed ally, added when she recited the oath of the Ahrenreth

8) Call to action

The party goes back to Nomikos, where they discuss their findings with Cufune and Elemmir (a PC from the previous campaign), and learn that the Nameless One was seen in Lethys some days ago. They could also contact Voriig Kye since the party in the previous campaign worked with him, but they don't trust him (he promised them help to conquer Zaen and after the battle all but took half of the city for himself).
They try to track the Nameless One, fail, but are then contacted by him outside Lethys. He is intrigued by what they share, but offers no specific aid and doesn't seem to trust them (the previous party also had a bizarre encounter with him, and because of it they had lost the chance to recruit Changramai monks when they assaulted Zaen).
Voriig Kye contacts the party through an agent in Lethys, with a promise that he has what they are looking for. They are asked to board a ship, from which they are instructed to jump into a raft driven by a mute girl, who takes them to an island with a portal, that teleports them to a cave. Inside it they find the agent again, who explains that Voriig acquired the Ahrenreth ring from Schrek during the attack on Zaen. This further enrages the party, since they are the same players who played the last campaign, and they know Voriig did not participate on the final battle against Schrek, and yet somehow looted him!
Voriig offers the ring to the party, since he explains it is cursed and he was only keeping it as a souvenir. This triggers some discussion as to what the Ahrenreth is and what it stands for, since the party was not completely aware of the Jerak version. They conclude that more than one Circle must have existed.
The agent explains that the cave is a specially selected location, in case the cursed ring causes any trouble, no one other than the party will be harmed. To study it they cast mostly seer spells, but the curse causes the spells to take some time to complete, during which they are showered with physical and magical attacks of increasing lethality. The most powerful effect of the curse defenses implies the summoning of 3 Janak and 1 Guguth.
After defeating the demons they learn from the ring that the members in an Ahrenreth have a role, a symbol and a name. They also learn that there is an Althan machine that manufactures the rings, when provided with raw materials and specifically crafting instructions for the designated wearer. They wouldn't be able to use Schrek's ring, but they could craft a ring for the adept who is technically the only member of a new Ahrenreth (they decided to call themselves the Zaen Ahrenreth).

9) Cold in the Wall

With the information gained from the seer spells, they got a visual of the machine, called a Manifester of Wills, and Voriig helped them locate it somewhere in SE Mulira, near Lindiis Lakes.
He provided the adept with enough materials to prepare the elements the machine would ask for. He also sent them to Mulira (I think via Navigator, can't recall now) but they didn't ask about how to get back.
There they made contact with a tribe who worshiped the local god Iylarus who opposes the Ice Undead that live in the north. The lake also hosted a protector for the tribe and the region, who ended up being another Mind Leech. This allowed the player to understand more about his own kind. I decided the creatures where not native to Kulthea, and had been brought by the Earthwardens to help them protect the ecosystem of big lakes in different continents. The player understood he was supposed to be the protector of Quon-ul in Emer.
In trying to locate the machine, they learned that the Undead had taken control of a part of the mountains to the west that hosted inside an ancient ruin. The tribe didn't volunteer people but offered them advice and some protection potions.
The party got to the mountains and found a possible entrance with runes similar to those they expected to find in the machine. While trying to open it a swarm of Ice Undead descended from the higher altitudes and started attacking. This combat used the largest number of miniatures we had ever needed, and part of the idea was to make the party trapped between increasing number of difficult enemies and the rock wall. They had to work the trick to opening the ruins while fighting, and once open risked entering and confirmed that the undead could not pass.

10) Element of surprise

Inside they found themselves confronted by a vision of their happiest and their saddest memory, and walked the ancient Althan complex. The seer tried to scan the past of the place, and was rewarded with a vision of a shadowy Ondoval who had protected the place from spells like that, and the seer almost got killed.
They also found a family of raccoons from the plane of light, who had been falling from years from a portal deep in the complex, resulting from a failed experiment.
I also prepared some very weird machinery for them to explore, but which required risks they didn't take.
They also found a set of cronogenic capsules, some with people still inside. The party discovered a black goo along the capsules, and correctly interpreted/spell-deduced that if they were to open the capsules the people inside would be affected by it (a tormenting joke placed by Ondoval to anger Andraax if he ever went to the complex again to make more rings).
They finally find the Manifester of Wills, where the adept is granted the title of Reth Lavan (Maker of Rings), represented by a square with a semicircle below (like an inverted closed lock).
Once she dons her ring, the complex offers her information on some of the features, like a machine that heals but is damaged and could cause damage (they use this to help the seer recover from the Ondoval vision attack), and also the service of a recording orb that could monitor her adventures (since they would require going back to the complex to review the recordings, they decide against taking them).

11) Kingdom for a flame

They decided to go back with the ring, and on they way out were attacked by the leader of the Undeads in the region, an Undead Ice Dragon (I promise the god Iylarus of Mulira, who wields the power of Ice-Water against his enemies the Ice Undead, was a concept I created in 2004 and GoT was not a thing back then).
They started running away from the dragon's attacks, who was confronted and pushed back by Irkuugor the Blue Dragon. When he appeared they could hear him bellowing: "The king is trapped, the weapon he searches could be the key you need to rescue Andraax".
When they got back to the tribe, they find their wagon storage open, nothing missing, but someone left there an Earthwarden flute key. Seer spells show it was placed there by a mysterious Lotana. More spells and attunement rolls, plus some required music skill, allows them to deduce the flute will guide them either to a way back to Emer or at least to the king mentioned by Irkuugor.
Playing the flute allows them to find the sound goes north no matter the direction the one playing it is facing. They pack things up and start in that direction.
During the trip, they are ambushed by night by explosives arrows and a band of Lugroki and Trogli that teleport right in the middle of their camp. The battle is hard but eventually won. With some tracking and spell casting, they find the arrows came from a ranger that was seemingly hiding and following them, who escaped the battle undetected. Upon following her trail, they find her dead with no apparent injury. More seer spells show her receiving payment in gemstones by an elf with violet eyes, seemingly to follow them and ensure they are killed. They find the gemstones hidden nearby, and past vision them to see they were cut and used in some factory filled with Trogli and Lugroki.
They continue north until they find an outcropping where they use the flute to open a path underground, which leads them into the Coral Roads. The flute does not indicate with way to go once there, but there seems to be only one path, going east towards Jaiman.

12) Underground rescue

The adventure starts with the party inside a cave, without their wagon, and no memory of how they got there. The last thing they know is that they were walking the Coral Road.
Before they can start figuring out what happened, a patrol of Snow Garks approaches and after a failed attempt at diplomacy they party is forced to kill them.
Here they learn that the cave is part of an underground complex where some Garks live, under the guidance of a demon lord, in preparation for an invasion against their enemies the Lotana.
With some past visions applied to themselves, they learn that the Coral Road trip ended in a meeting with a mentalist working for Ackbar, king of the Aanaku (also a PC from a previous campaign). The mentalist had explained that the king, along with his elite fighting force, had come to the domain of Raathmaauriig to recover the ancient tower of the kingdom, and bolster the morale of his resistance against Ulor. They didn't even know if the demon was still alive, but once they teleported there with a gateway opened by another flute, the mentalist lost contact and doesn't what what befell the assaulting force. The party had agreed to travel the gateway and find the king, since they understood "the weapon he searches could be the key" to freeing Andraax. On arriving to the island, they had been affected by a blanket of mist coming from some flowers, and escaped to a nearby cave, only to have a lot of that erased from their memories.
They scouted the closest Gark village, and made contact with a Gark who ended up being king Ackbar himself, separated from most of his men when they arrived and where attacked by demons patrolling the surface of the island.
He had a plan on how to reach the tower of Raathmaauriig, but no plan on how to recover it nor whether his men had been captured or killed.
After some stealth maneuvers they skipped the village, traveled through tunnels and reached a part of the tower that had an entrance underground. Although there seemed to be a remote sentry (a Gark operating the Earthwarden scouting powers of the tower from the inside), the Mind Leech realized the door had a representation of a natural lake ecosystem, with a creature in the bottom of the water part, and other party members saw that all the animals in the door had protrusions like buttons. The Mind Leech pressed the ones for his race and the door opened, after which the sentry activated the alarm.
They quickly scanned the tower and saw that the bottom levels opened to a cave with captured Lotana encased in ice crystals, while the upper levels where frozen and mostly uninhabited. An image appeared before them in the spiraling stairs, of Raathmaauriig, a demonic woman with white skin and hair, who asked them who they were and what they searched for.
Upon understanding their intent, Raathmaauriig called forth the powers of the tower to send them down into the cave below, but the Mind Leech, understanding his connection to the Earthwarden powers, was able to counter the energy and change from a capture-all mode into the opposite expel-all power that the tower possessed.
This teleported everyone in the tower, including the party, the king, Raathmaauriig, her hydra, her local soldiers, and the trapped soldiers, to the surface of the island.
Here we started the second big battle of the campaign (the first one being against the undeads in Mulira).
Raathmaauriig drew the Unheat sword and called forth an ice storm, while her Hydra, Demons and Garks attacked the party, and the party tried holding off the enemies while at the same time started melting the ice crystals to free the soldiers with the help of the king.
This battle took a session and a half, with changing tactics required as Raathmaauriig turned the storm into a defensive set of ice walls around her, and alternated with powerful blasts of ice.
Eventually enough soldiers were freed to contain the attacking Demons and Garks, the Hydra was beheaded, and only Raathmaauriig remained. The king asked the party to distract her while he used the powers of his sword Kuugorkhiin to appear before the demon and slay her.

13) Prized Possessions

With the battle won, the party was invited to the Aanaku kingdom, where the king shared with them the power of the Books of the Elements. Instead of giving them spell lists, I decided each character felt a specific attunement to one of the elements and this knowledge allowed them to use more powers from their initial main artifacts (more fire powers for the adept fire staff, more light powers for the merchant war mattock, etc).
They also understood using attunement and seer spells the power of the Unheat sword, and how it was half of a set, and how using both they could open any barrier, which meant wherever Andraax was, they could need both swords to get to him.
I presented an out of game narrative about how they joined the king and got the Uncold sword, since the Lotana now held the place where it was hidden. They didn't have it simply because the party for that campaigned had missed the hiding place, and I ruled that they hadn't found it since then.
I explained that the power of the swords required a high level character, which none of them were, and the wielders should also be versed in arcane arts, like a Dragonlord, Loremaster or Navigator.
Also, since now they owned an Ahrenreth ring, they could go back to the Tomb of Andraax and activate the searching protocol. This gave them a location: the north pole. I think the Loremaster Legacy states that Andraax is ambushed in the south pole, but the whole idea for the campaign occurred to me when I read it and it seems I remembered that fact wrong when I wrote the adventures.
Before going north they still needed to recruit high level arcane users to wield the swords. They decided to try their luck with Elor, the Nameless One, and Voriig Kye, in that order, and see if they could get two of them to agree to join them in a trip to face the unknown.
I really wanted them to bring Voriig Kye along, and had no intention of using Elor in this campaign, so when they got to his home he was nowhere to be found. He left some traps for any would be visitors and that helped get the players out of the house and move on with the list.
The Nameless One contacted them and once he saw the swords agreed to the mission. I think the party didn't question the fact that he knew more about the items than they did. Also, he agreed to participate because they told him Andraax had him listed under a lower ally status than Elor, and the same that Voriig Kye, and that hurt.

14) The road north

The party finally contacted Voriig Kye, who wanted to better understand the swords and how to use them, while also asking for time to research the potential danger of the mission. He guessed Ondoval was behind this, and the party shared information learned from the Tomb to understand who he was and what was at stake.
To devise a plan to use the swords and combine their energies, he took the party to a camp where they were joined by Oran Jatar (I think he didn't even speak to the characters, he just met with the silver one).
They learned that Ondoval would be planning an attack on the south pole, and the Dragonlords agreed that the only valid moment to proceed was once they could confirm he was on the other side of the planet.
Once they were ready, Voriig asked the party to meet near the destination, while he traveled on his own. The Nameless One also wanted to be there only at the last moment to keep the element of surprise.
So the Dragonlords arranged for them to travel on the Silverfish, which would better increase their chances of traveling undetected by Ondoval. The trip was quite disgusting, as it should be, since Ulya was only doing Voriig a favor. Just to get you an idea, they had to sleep on a room that was used as a torture chamber.

15) Open Prison

At the meeting point, the party were joined by Voriig, they traveled some miles on foot and finally the Nameless One appeared as well.
They could see an unexpected domed structure in the distance, around which the scene showed frozen and abandoned pieces of demon and also of robots (defensive patrols of the Eyes who had attempted to help Andraax from the ambush).
In the middle of the battleground was a two dimensional energy shape, with the body of Andraax trapped within.
My original idea was that Ondoval had trapped him at this point of Kulthea, fixing him to a number of other dimensions through powerful magics. The combined stream of the swords should break the prison but also alert Ondoval and his forces, who would be distracted on the southern Eye.
But, the seer tried to use her vision spells in the battlefield, which again triggered the past vision wards that Ondoval had used in the complex in Mulira, and the past shadow attacked the seer. They easily protected her, but now Ondoval had been alerted of their presence before they could start freeing Andraax.
Tens of Lugroki started being teleported to their location on the next minute, and every minute after that. Their only advantage was that teleporting so near the Eye was not possible so the attackers had to run a short distance to engage them. In the meantime Voriig Kye and the Nameless One got to their positions and started the combined beam to free Andraax, while the party defended against the army. Another threat they had to face was X'jemiis, who was not on the southern Eye offensive but was specifically assigned to keep an eye on the party (he was the one who had paid the gemstones and prepared their ambush in Mulira).
The adept asked if her Ahrenreth membership could help in some way there, and I had decided that she could connect with the citadel defense system to activate some combat drones. I didn't prepare stats for them, just reduced the number of enemies that got in fighting shape to the party.
This battle was long but not so much as the one against Raathmaauriig. As the number of enemies kept increasing, they got the assistance from the party of the previous campaign as NPCs, and also the troops that had helped them take Zaen back then (Kuluku, Malaqani, Vorloi). After some rounds and with X'jemiis down, Andraax was freed, he turned on his power sword and cut down a large number of enemies as well. Then he insisted that they go down to the citadel of the Eye.
Andraax called on Tethior to follow him, which got the party a little confused, specially when the Nameless One cursed under his breath and started running after him.
I would have loved to have the inside of the citadel take at least a complete session, but of the 3 couples that make up the gaming group, 2 of us were expecting our firstborns in the coming months and I had already decided to cut the campaign short some sessions ago.
in a cinematic description I told them how Andraax and the Nameless One descended into the citadel, with the party following. He instructed them on how to operate controls to try to prevent Ondoval from completing his plan on the south pole. They could see his advance in real time in the opposite citadel, and at the last moment, once they reached the chamber of the Eye, Andraax activated an energy reversal protocol on both citadels, teleporting the Eye of the south to the northern citadel. The drawback of this plan was that all sentient life on both places got disintegrated into the ambient Essaence.
I ruled that after some years their spirits would coalesce back into the world, formed in a place they would have called home. So the aftermath of the campaign found all of the characters back in their home, with Andraax and Ondoval free to continue plotting, and the southern Eye absent, because it was now the northern one.

I tried not to go into every detail, and at the same time didn't want to leave any important event out of the tale. I always like it when other groups share their view on Shadow World and how they play their adventures, so I wanted to share our experience.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A three year long campaign in the jungle (and its surroundings)

If you're reading this, please know that it will spoil about 70% of the content in the Emer III adventure book.

This is a summary of a campaign I GM'ed during 39 adventures, for a total of 98 sessions, each lasting between 5 and 8 hours, almost once every week or so, for almost 3 years!
The characters started at level 3, reached the finale at level 14, and the total final experience left them at level 15.

I'm writing this as a reminder of what happened, and to share with any other GM who wants to know "how do other people play in Shadow World?"

The rules

The ruleset is basically RMFRP, with RM2 Smoothed Stats, RM2 Innate Stat Abilities, RM2 category level bonuses adapted from RMFRP fixed category bonuses, we don't allow category development (all skills use standard progression, but cost is double/halved from restricted/everyman), and Combat Companion weapon styles, but RMC Arms Law attack tables and criticals.

Another important factor are the fate points. Each character starts with 2 fate points, can have a maximum of 3 at any time. I give 1 fate point after the end of adventures that are significant to the characters. They can use a fate point to re-roll a non open-ended roll, or add to the total of an open-ended roll. Important bosses have 1 fate point, and people in the Shadow World books get 2 or 3 fate points. In the special case of the campaign finale, the final boss had 4 fate points. A fate point can also be used to block use of a fate point by another.

The characters

Now, I present "The Party" (in alphabetical order):

Elemmir: the language freak

A Loari elf, born and raised in the Port of Izar, but her parents were typical Namar-Tol snobs. She even got an invitation for a distant cousin wedding, while stopping to check for mail after some weeks adventuring in the jungle.

She is first and foremost a scholar, and in game terms a priest of Valris. Combining the Wisdom priest template from Channeling Companion with Combat Companion styles, she had the highest OB of the party, and the lowest DB, which got her the "glass cannon" nick during battles.

Since the player was really interested in a character that was harvesting languages from the world, I removed all language interpreting spells from this campaign. No one could understand a foreign language without learning it from the local populace. This got her to even chat with defeated enemies, and offer freedom in exchange for a lesson of their native languages.

Navii: the navigator wannabe

A Jineri from the Port of Izar, and niece to a navigator, she was trained in different ways to "reach people" in her role as a summoner of Teris. We changed a lot of the base spell lists, to accommodate for the idea of "reaching". The combo of base lists was: Channels, Nature's Summons, Path Finding (from RMC Spell Law II), Summoning Circles, Teleportals. She also designed her own companion spell list based on Familiar Mastery, called Distant Focus, which gave a special arrow some familiar like abilities.

The focus of the adventure for this character was helping people get places, as a self designed training to someday get the attention of the navigators. She knew that they didn't have any specialist in the Khum-Kaan region, so she set out to become one and then offer her services. Her language hunting friend was happy to join the party as an interpreter.

Tilo: a peaceful shaman in-training

An Erlini elf from the island Talaen near Izar. He is an animist who started a herb-dream-induced friendship with an unknown shaman, who ended up being a Kuluku, and from his friend got the great idea of learning all about the herbs in the jungle. So he went to the Port of Izar to get some info before venturing into the jungle. Lucky for him a caravan was getting ready to start an expedition into the region!

Tilo is an animist by profession, with the Tree Mastery spell list from the Channeling Companion. A pacifist (flaw) wielding a spear, and insane bonus for stalk/hide and foraging. Also a great rejection to people forcing their way into his mind (he walked out of the scene every time someone mind-talked to him).

Uruloki: the fire martial artist healer who looks like a monster, later also a Jinteni archeologist

A Muadani from the Vajaar domain, and member of a resistance group that opposed the war against the Komaren Cluster. Combining a healer profession with Combat Companion weapon styles, and some well chosen backgrounds, this was essentially an indestructible martial artist, who could also patch up the whole party. Also, a mysterious encounter in his past with a weird underground installation, got him the power to copy the characteristics of other living beings (a background spend on access to Construct Companion Changeling Mastery spell list, restricted to self).

Since his Channeling side was dedicated to a Phaon/Cay combination, he spent some points on researching fire based spells to aid him in combat, and some other tricks.

He had met Elemmir during a scholarship she did in Vajaar, and arrived at the Port of Izar while laying low because of a failed revolt in the Domain, thinking about traveling to the Khum-Kaan region to learn about the wildlife there, and the possibilites that might add to his power. Also, he has been having visions about a green (jade) dragon, that turns into a green skinned clawed/fanged child who is defeated by an evil shadow.

So that's about it for the party. Short summary, huh?

The story

Now I want to tell you how it went, from a language/fauna/flora expedition to saving the world.

1) Reach

The party travels with a caravan from the Port of Izar to the barrier at the Spine of Emer. Eventually the barrier disperses and the can pass. Was that the prayer to Teris? or just good timing? Guided by a vision from Valris, they unearth a strange five pointed star (a Kuluku kuvis). They reach the town of Libris where a former guide tells them of flora and fauna, and the legend of the Kuluku people in the jungle. The continue with the caravan to its destination in Ardan City.

2) Ardania Rules

The law of Ardan City is imposed to the party in the form of legal papers and the need to testify for an attempted theft in which they assisted the target.

3) Hard Rock Diplomacy

After the animist travels to the mountains in the west searching for herbs, he learns from the animals there that the Murlogi are displacing the fauna. The party gathers to oust the Murlogi, but end up helping defend them from the Trogli further into the mountain. They take as a prize the famed Gagar, a large cristal club (really a Jinteni battery). The healer loses a leg in the battle.

4) Search and Repair

Back in Ardan City, a powerful lay healer offers a temporary solution to the party healer's leg in the form of a wooden prosthetic. In exchange for a real flesh and bone repair, they must obtain for him crystals from a mine across the bay.

The ship that takes them there is attacked in the night by "ninjas" that attempt to murder one of the passengers. The party defeats them but not before the enemies severely damage the ship. There is a side quest that was never explored here. The merchant is really a student from the Temple of Nûr, in search of his former Hirazi lover that was captured and sold to slavery in Ardan City. The assassins were sent by the Kortri Ta Shiin to keep the merchant from investigating.

Before proceeding to their destination, the ship stops to make some repairs at Gull Island, where the party finds the old home of Kimul Khama, and only salvages an old wooden Kuluku statue that includes a depiction of their five pointed star. A chance encounter with a giant dragonfly (which we call Bowabak) lets them know that star is used by the Kuluku as a weapon.

5) Darkstone

The party reaches the mine in the Green Mountains, defended by a group of savage garks, lead by a crazy old gark with a magical statue. They shatter the statue, which restores the magical energies of the mine, and make off with large chunks of the requested crystals.

6) Grab the goods

With promise of good money for good herbs, which they wanted to search for anyway, the search into the jungle begins. The first unexpected stop is at a mysterious town (Misty Vale) surrounded by standing rocks, and people that don't want to leave it. The party suspects of everyone there, but eventually leave without understanding what is going on there.

The summoner, in her eagerness to map the region, gets a vision from Teris where the town explodes after she installs a road marker indicating its location. They enter the jungle and start interacting with the different animals there.

7) Pick a fight

A group of Conquerors of Agoth finds the party, and after the battle they realize they've been watched. They finally make contact with the Kuluku, and thanks to the kuvis and the statue from Kimul Khama's home, they start on good terms.

8) Trials

The local Kuluku shaman asks the party to travel to three different villages to gain recognition from each shaman, so that they can present the party as a friends to the rest of the Kuluku groups further east.

More fauna interaction ensues (having an animist in the party is crucial!). The also start interacting with spirits that serve as local gods to some shamans.

9) Steps to Destiny

The last shaman (Utmo) turns out to be a little out of his mind. He tricks the party into a dartspore field where they find his dead monkey assistant, then convinces them to drink a tea that will "open up their destinies".

Then came a set of dreams that make no sense (I described to them visions that mixed up the destinies and abilities of the party, this was not all that clear to them at the time, but they still contained some foreshadowing, only for the wrong character). Some good poison resistances allow the party to awake in the middle of being dragged unconscious to who knows where by the shaman.

They confront him and trap him, but not before he rolls his dice. The effect is dreaded by the players from them on: they had to roll to avoid losing a fate point, most of them failed.

10) Wild Stance

The Kuluku accept the group and offer them to join a skirmish against the conquerors. They defeat the enemies occupying a magical glade and recover some evil items.

11) Going Around

While the Kuluku shamans deliberate about the party and their good intentions, they are offered the chance to travel to "Luguru Munutu Uju", a shunned cave where the shaman Utmo is said to have entered before going crazy. They know it is related to an ancient civilization, and they tend to avoid those places.

The party travels to this cave in the Spine of Emer, hidden behind illusionary rocks that are not created with magic, and find a holographic woman that answers in a very robot like way. The place is a reservoir of items from different civilizations, and the party gather some in exchange for others they carry, and they promise to return them in the future.

Also, they battle a thorned demon to help repair some cables underground, which allows them access to a Matrix-like chair that uploads knowledge from ages past. They learn a bit of Iruaric and region lore from the Interregnum (as they develop the skill, sometimes they will know the original Jinteni name of some locations).

The truth is this place is from the time of Kadaena, but was last visited by Andejaan before disappearing, so it has some Jinteni trinkets and knowledge she gathered while exploring the continent.

12) Iterative Hopping

The party reaches the region of the Tukal Kuluku, interact with some Jinteni ruins and a local spirit (Om'Urud) that can only express itself through smells. They end up beneath the temple of Om'Urud, where the conquerors of Agoth are excavating some ruins.

13) Down the old ways

After a battle in the ruins, the party starts to understand the way the Jinteni door portals work, and also rescue a pair of slaves that need to be sent back to their native regions.

14) Rerouting

On the way back to the surface a battle against demons, and once outside they travel to the floating village Kalumi. Here they meet Kiku Makhala. I presented him as a bed-ridden Kuluku with whose opinions are no longer heard by the other shamans. He explains a the reasons behind the Kuluku retreating from the world.

15) Chatting Up

With the help of Kiku Makhala, the party once again tries the vision trance trick, but this time the information is correct for each character. With this and the interpretation by the shaman about their previous visions, they start to create a version of what their gods might be telling them.

Here I must make it clear that since the party were all at least part channeling users, the priest even having access to dream spells, and the animist getting a hold from around this point on some trance herbs, they relied a lot on asking for quests and explanations from visions. I never really intended for the campaign to take that direction, but only provided some metaphoric scenes, and the players interpreted and guided the campaign from that. Eventually they saw themselves as the envoy from their gods to stop the spread of evil in the jungle. I was more than happy to oblige.

Kiku Makhala asks them to spread the word of union and coordinated effort in fighting the invading conquerors of Agoth. They start traveling south now, towards the other villages.

In Kulakaan the animist finds the shaman that was chatting with him via trance herbs from years ago. The also get magical animal tattoos that increase their most relevant skills (+5 to the skills with the higher bonus at that point).

Also, this long adventure includes the party reaching the mountain village of Kulakara'an, unintendedly turning off some old Jinteni symbols preventing the earthnode in the cave from being detectable, which in turn causes a battle against a very big earth demon and some demonic creatures.

16) Parties

The battle in Kulakara'an results in the death of one Kuluku. The party is used to people not dying on their watch, with their jack of all trades healers always ready. So to avoid counting it as a loss, they decide to try a Divine Intervention maneuver, with the help of the rest of the village. They succeed, but I ruled that Iloura is the one watching over the place, and she can't raise the dead, so instead she takes the soul of the fallen soldier and turns it into a guardian spirit protecting the cave. After some research in the village they learn that their kuvis star, found at the beginning of the campaign, belonged to a lone Kuluku who once lived here, and was lost to them when he went east investigating the evil in the forest after the jungle (Rulaash).

They start east, reach the town of Rhembis, which is almost inexistent at this point since Kuluku trading is a thing of the past. It turns out to be most of the villagers are slowly disappearing (a man in town is betraying his neighbors to be taken as slaves by the Ahrenaek). They don't delve into this, but are scared by this man, and decide to get out at first light.

They continue east, and with some luck since they were flying to avoid touching the forest floor (the Kulukus were sure it is totally evil) they come upon a fortress in the mountain. They slowly explore it at a distance, and eventually find an unsuspecting guard on a tower. Once the animist casts Detect Evil on the guy and gets a positive, they speed up before being detected and continue east.

17) Inside the thunder

The party reaches Thunder Falls, meet the Hirazi, and venture into the old tunnels to find lost lore. They return to the Hirazi after they found a dead one with some items.

18) Honor the living

The dead Hirazi turns out to be a traveler that once traded with the Malaqani to the east, and the party is allowed to stay in his old room in exchange for "putting his things in order" which should eventually imply traveling to Malqanar to return a trinket.

They meet up with Kedron in his village and exchange information on the Jinteni and the Kuluku. I made Kedron an old cowboy with a lot of knowledge on old things, mostly because I figured he would have taken the best loot in the ruins here, so he could be long lived, detect magic, and some other stuff.

The adventure ended after the party tried looting unexplored areas in Zal-jinak and release a Jinteni prisoner in eternal stasis. He was a very powerful sorcerer-wraith, and became an interesting antagonist for some sessions, as he escaped trying to reclaim his old power and the party followed trying to recapture him, first looking for help in Shanish.

19) The time is now

While they tracked the escaped ghoul, the clock struck twelve, and 6053 started. The players had never been presented with this subject in previous campaigns, they don't know what it means. They just know that the world shooked, hard. After some jarring earthquakes and finding no power points for one or two days, they tried to find out what had happened. The campaign ended and they never found out, but it was not my focus anyway. Eventually they decided it was not completely related to their quest.

20) Following changes

As they went back to the places they knew, they found the aftermath of the event. News of demons roaming the Kuluku jungle were the most disturbing, as was the death of Kiku Makhala during the shaking storm that ravaged Kalumi. I figured he was old and the party was starting too many quests at once, so this rerouted their focus on helping the Kuluku, who had been left to themselves while the party was so far east. But he left them a legacy, the right to enter the tomb of his friend Kimul Khama.

And everything changed again. Remember the party has a navigator wannabe, specialized in transport magic and location. And she got the Nazarian Compass.

21) The Council

With the increasing number of Jinteni portal keys, and the enhanced teleportation powers of the Compass, they started thinking big. They teleported to the Ahrenaek and sneaked into the slave caves, rescued some and took them to a coast near the Kuluku, and gave them tools to start a town of their own (they love doing that in as many campaigns as possible).

22) Butterflies

So they could teleport in, rescue slaves, and teleport out? Then they would do it a again, and this time ATTACK THE FORTRESS. They gathered some Kuluku fighters and got to it.

Of course, it's the Ahrenaek, so Sigirus is there to stop them as soon as they start making a noise in the first balconies. Only, I didn't expect, some good rolls, some good use of the Jinteni artifacts they had collected, and the priest casts Absolution on Sigirus, and it hits home (fate points were spent on both sides). In hindsight, I didn't have it prepared as well as I could have. But he was Sigirus, and they were just some meddling children. But the absolution spell took his soul out, and a lot of demons come rushing to defend his inert body. So the party escapes via teleport.

They leave the wounded Kuluku on a distant outcropping on the mountain, and after less than a minute decide that their best shot is now, so they teleport back to finish the job! I prepared a chase throughout the Ahrenaek forges, with the residents not knowing what was happening, and chaos all around.

They followed a demon carrying the body, battled some soldiers, and eventually reached the demon before he in turn reached the forest were he was taking the body. They had a little help from a Thonis demon, who was reacting quickly to the power struggle that this event would cause. They dismembered Sigirus and teleported the parts to different regions of the world.

23) Visiting Hours

To take some time out, they teleport-bounce between different locations asking about news, and find out through a Kuluku seer that there will be a reckoning for their actions. At this point I was preparing detailed defenses for the Ahrenaek, because A'kesh was making some inquiries. But they went back in. Before being discovered and chased out by a pack of Sentinel Demons and afterwards by A'kesh himself in dragon form, they got inside the room holding the Raathtruliik (at this distance the Riig Pronaa was detecting it) and took it.

I had never meant for the campaign to take this turn, but now they held the Riig Shaang, so I could start steering things towards the big challenge.

24) Save the rainforest

The warnings about a revenge against them strike true when the jungle is assaulted by explosive fires in the night. The party teleports to one place after another and douses the fire (the animist has the convenient Smother spell) and eventually face a very big fire demon, which kills a Kuluku during the fight.

Again, they don't want to be seen as losers, so Divine Intervention it is, asking to resurrect the dead one as a spirit, which gives them a resurrected but totally scarred Kuluku who is magically bound to his home village.

After this, an unknown shaman offers them a way out of the anger of their vengeful enemy: find a pile of already charred corpses and distribute them in the jungle, then lay low for as long as possible. This is in fact no other than Voriig Kye, who gives them a Jinteni key to an underground outpost in Silaar, where of course there are a lot of dead bodies because he killed them with his army a long time ago (these ones are preserved in an old Jinteni storage facility).

25) The other sides

When they explore outside this new region, they are greeted by Carctira (one of the Keepers of Buir Dom) sent by Voriig Kye to warn the party about the powers of the staff, and the importance of laying low (to avoid Schrek from knowing about the party). They take this suggestion to heart, and from this point on make an effort on not returning to any previously visited place unless absolutely necessary and never staying for long.

26) Do as Staff says

To stay out of known places, they decide to venture into Silaar. To unlock the powers of the Riig Shaang they had to follow the instructions of a voice coming from the stomach of the wielder, with increasingly complex quests for each. Worst, each character had to get the achievements to access each power, so they started helping themselves out to complete the challenges.

27) Jaded

After learning that their allies where being hunted by their vengeful enemy (A'kesh) they decide to go really far to hide for a while: to the Isle of Jade. Through their adventures it was becoming obvious that the green dragon girl would be found there.

They make friends with the Vorloi, mostly because they are fighting a different version of the conquerors of Agoth, and the party loves defeating agothians. Unbeknownst to the party, the Mystic appears as different Vorloi at different times to guide them to a quest that would test their skill.

28) Power of three

The quest takes them underneath an old temple, where they close the access to a demonic plane left from another era. With this they are granted an audience with the Triumvirate.

Next come a number of sessions where they are tasked with deploying a squad of Vorloi in the region controlled by the Green Brotherhood. While the Vorloi create a distraction, the party finds a special place in the jungle (Gedalbass) and enter an old vault that holds an outdated memory copy of Andejaan.

The healer learns that his Changeling powers might be a way left by Andejaan throughout Emer to create creatures that can help her children in times of need. They are also lent a Portal Key Orb.

29) Defensive mindset

To help gain more tools against their enemies, they turn to knowledge. They can teleport anywhere, so they go to Nomikos. Here they are confronted by the navigators and accused of illegally using teleport to commit crimes in the Ardania region (A'kesh and Schrek both want them brought out in the open, so they push their influence in the region to make them into fugitives).

They give a good defense and are allowed to leave, but decide they now have to avoid returning to SE Emer. To avoid being detected, they don't use the Nazarian Compass to teleport, but in Kulthea that is not safe, and they end up in an old magic cage in the middle of the way, and are helped along by Elor, who happened to be there.

After experimenting with Gorthops to get an interactive trip, they end up setting up camp in the south of Falias. Here demons come chasing (the Thonis who helped them is bored of waiting and tries to take the staff by sending minions).

And also, Tar-Esiir shows up to let them know that the investigation found no guilt on them, so he offers some guidance and teleports out.

Finally, a different navigator shows up (they are supposedly hiding in another continent, but people keep finding them). She comes with a lady (and her comatose son) from Rhakhaan, where a seer said they were the only ones who could help the boy wake up. In exchange they were instructed to give the party a set of crowns, which she had gotten from a tomb, at the cost of the lives from several of her soldiers. This was to join up loose ends, the party had been given the map to the crowns some time ago, but the didn't trust anyone at the point, so they avoided that quest.

The crowns were clearly designed for them, as each was adorned with the symbol of their gods (they were made by Oran Jatar at a request from Voriig Kye, to help conceal the party from Schrek). The crowns also had a message when worn: seek out the artificer Leidir, to hide the staff from his rightful owner.

30) Under Ashes

Leidir turned out to be an old dyar elf living in relative isolation, but he did know how to work the Riig Shaang enough to change its description, making it harder to detect. He also made a fake copy, which the party teleported to a distant location in Thuul, increasing the distraction. With their protections increased, they returned to the Isle of Jade to use the Portal Key Orb, and eventually succeeded in detecting an overgrown platform.

They used it to travel east and met with the Velquiri and the Malaqani, and came back to the Isle of Jade, only to find that using the platform triggered a small demon invasion each time it was activated (the agothians could never destroy it completely, so they cursed it).

This set of sessions ended with the party entering a set of tunnels in the island, which reached almost to the Ash Lairs, and found the conquerors were coming all the way from the mainland for a large scale assault.

31) Green Clash

With the knowledge of the attack, they petitioned the Triumvirate for troops, and faced the invasion with minimal losses. They even got to face with an agothian warrior mage loaded on Jinteni artifacts and knowledge of the Changeling spells (so he was like a personal nemesis for the healer).

Since I felt they were overstaying their time in this region, the Mystic appeared to give a gift to each party member: notes on Iruaric for the priest, some K'Ta'Viir blood to feed the Compass, access to strange animal shapes for the animist, and a dragon breathing item for the healer. Then he insisted on the fact that they had done all that could be asked of them, and urged them away from the island.

32) Wisdom in the Waters

To start checking off old quests, they re-visited the Bay of Songs but this time finally delivered the trinket from the dead Hirazi (it was almost a year in game time and more than a year in real time since that already!).

They asked for assistance against the demons assailing the jungle, and got to meet with Lon-Sheg, a magical sea serpent that told them of the metal Bazurt, which could be crafted by the Malaqani and had demon-slaying properties. Cue to quest retrieving components for the craft of metal spears, axes and arrows.

33) Talk A-Way

In the middle of their crafting they were mentally contacted by the old kuluku shaman that sent them to Silaar. She said the staff should have specific powers for those who complete their attunement (I gave each a special power enhancing the final passing effect, the healer could heal by passing into a person so less PPs involved, the animist could pass into plants and animals and control them, the summoner could use the passing for groups of people at a time, the priest... never found out because she never completed the attunement).

Afterwards they decided to travel using the portal door keys that lead to outside the Zaen region, but Schrek found them there as soon as they arrived. He tried some powerful spell, but the Riig Shaang was armed, so they passed their RR. Then he activated a Jinteni artifact of his own to burn all the batteries in possession of the party, thus canceling their tricks. But again, Absolution. No two rounds had passed, and the priest rightly decided it was required (she was really careful not to use it on unworthy enemies, this was the second time in the whole campaign she casted it!). What are the odds? BAR Roll: 00 (as in 100, UM 100!). Well, a fate came and went on each side and then I though: He'll resurrect in a few days anyway, I'll let this go, it's good luck and a fun exciting moment for them.

34) Rounding Up

After the encounter, I made sure by means of hints, visions and outright outrage from Voriig Kye that they had set out the timer for the final bomb. Once Schrek returned (and Voriig was sure he would return) he would start by killing all that was dear to them.

Since I didn't want the party to be left with the empty body of Schrek after the absolution, I ruled that his body teleported back to his room in Zaen and the countdown for his regeneration would begin, to give the campaign a time limit. The dice said 15 days.

The party started teleporting throughout the region, checking old quest clues trying to find more Jinteni items to help them, and maybe some additional information on Schrek and his whereabouts (they had never seen Zaen!).

Eventually they found a portal into an old Jinteni corridor underneath Zaen, which in turn had a portal access to an experimental lab under the House of the Elder Seer.

35) Flying Organic Material

They explored the place, found a lot of weird stuff: mind controlled paintings, hazmat suits, kuvis accessories (detailed in

But they also rescued, inside a holographic Jinteni shop, an escaped Kuluku prisioner. She was sent a long time ago by Utmo (the crazy shaman, before he went crazy) to investigate the whereabouts of Banditari Shenni, and found out he was indeed working for the conquerors as feared. But she got captured, then escaped, then got trapped into the weird statis holographic shop.

36) A Map to the bottom

After running out with the recovered Kuluku they tried to warn the Malaqani of the impeding danger, then set off to investigate another leftover quest: a Jinteni place that no one knew about (Legrala). Even outside, before going into the underground ruins, it was obvious that something strange had happened here, and also that this was not a Jinteni ruin.

They rescued an Ahnasai and his Kith, who had a map to the center of the place. After avoiding some traps they opened the innermost vault, which held a vicious presence, that tempted them to enter his many portals to many places (all twisted versions of the promised locations, all located in a demonic plane).

The healer got a glimpse of a request for help from the portal that supposedly went to Votania (from the green dragon girl?). Instead of entering he requested the summoner to use the Nazarian Compass to take them specifically to Votania (in the "real" world).

37) Proving Grounds

There was obviously nothing to be found in Votania (not on this campaign at least) so they went back after a vision reminding them that time was running short. Voriig showed up and for the first time introduced himself, and showed them the different faces he had used during the campaign.

He offered the party, as a way to enforce their belief in their gods, to seek out the lost town of Radenlania, and recover the artifacts related to each of their religions. This was a small detour I prepared, since I had been wanting to use the Tomb of Lord and Lady Radena and didn't get a chance before. Also, before the campaign ended, I wanted to give each character character-specific gift from their gods to enhance some of their most used skills.

They fought the power couple, then explored the abandoned temples, which included some simple puzzles related to each of their religions. Once they got the items, they decided they had time enough to go face the malevolent presence in the bottom of Legrala.

They entered the fake portal to Votania there. Before that they tried some guessing spell, where Valris kinda told the priest that Teris would be able to get them out of the demonic plane.

Inside they faced grotesque evil versions of themselves: the animist was the walls of the place, the healer was a floating ball of meat, the priest was a glass figurine that casted absolution every round, and the summoner was not copied, since Teris was the natural enemy of a demon that teleports you to a place you can't get out of.

Inside that specific region of the demonic plane, trapped and weary, they found the lingering soul of Andejaan. She said time had passed outside and her body did not exist anymore in Kulthea, so she was happy to for her soul to be released and to know her children were safe. As a token of thanks, and to help with the fight against Agoth, she gave the party an artifact (a K'Ta'Viir USB stick) with a program to temporarily allow the Vorloi to travel outside the Isle of Jade, so that they could join the fight against Zaen (by this time they were already planning on storming the place with as many allies as they could).

38) Poke the eye

So they prepared. They went again to Nomikos, returned an old book they had found during their adventures and got access to the special collections, so they researched about Shar-Bu, because Voriig had told them about him.

They even tried hiring some Changramai monks, but a timely 00 roll implied for me that the Nameless One was there, telling the monastery that taking on that job would mean the loss of prestige for the monks. The party confronted him, and using the Truest Sight power of the staff saw the real him, but didn't understand who he was. He teleported away, and then, hoping to get on their good graces in the future to research that interesting staff they carried, offered a bunch of Kregora arrows and a Mah-Ilari War Mattock. This was fun because the players had previously played the Xa-Ar campaign and knew how useful those War Mattocks could be to face a Shard, and he went and gave them one.

The next 4 or 5 sessions were dedicated to defeating 2 waves of conquerors, priests and other enemies as they made their way up the House of the Elder Seer. Since I wanted to get the campaign finished, the summoner could sense the evil portals to the Void up there (Schrek regenerating) and this allowed the fight outside with their allies to be just something that was happening out of scene.

They were accompanied by some Kuluku warriors, and once they got to the ramp, Utmo and other Kuluku friends appeared to offer some help (a giant tree powered by the Jinteni crystal, and magical talismans with channeling powers from their gods).

39) Ascension to nowhere

As they entered the room on the top, Shar-Bu was there waiting. They were up to their hair in magical defenses, plus they had the Mah-Ilari War Mattock, and fought defensively, so the discs never touched them. The smile was another story.

After the fourth round, even with great rolls on their part and horrible on mine, the healer was with no fates left and now with no soul inside his body, so the priest did her thing. Absolution. She was ready to burn all her fate points to make her point. BAR Roll: 99 (UM 99!) It cost them almost every fate point left (he had 3!) but Shar-Bu got his soul sucked from out of him. Just to make it more ominous he warned them that he lived in every Shard and would find the way to be back.

On the back of the room was a nothing-portal to nowhere: the void. And the healer had no soul. I was thinking how to justify getting him back for the final battle, but they solved it for me: Divine Intervention. Eissa helped along this time, and sent him whole with renewed HPs and PPs. They had a small chat with each of their gods, where they gave them the power to understand the void (Valris), be kept alive there despite the lack of atmosphere (Phaon), travel into the void (Teris), and find the way back home afterwards (Iloura).

With the extra resistance of the Riig Shaang they only lost the priest for a moment when all her blood boiled (and recovered with a herb the animist was carrying) and the tentacles never were a problem with their magical defenses and defensive posture. With an open-ended roll and a spell powered attack, the priest even got a critical once with her holy weapon.

I made the spirit of Jereneth appear and reveal herself as the good part of the staff, as a memory passed from Schrek when he ate her, then to the staff when he created it with part of his essence. Since the staff did not have the heart it was a good item intent on destroying the abomination she had given life to.

She urged the party to use the banishing power, which here, on the rim of the void, would send him packing for several millennia.

So it was time for the final roll: Banish Demon. An excellent roll on the part of the healer (the only one who had developed the skill from the staff), followed by a great roll on by the summoner in a fate point use, plus the rest of the party burning their remaining fate points to counter Schrek's (he started out with 4, over the ruled total!), and the campaign ended with a bright flash of victory.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Reglas para Emer III


Quien hace una maniobra de Read Runes se considera como el caster del spell embebido.
Se puede poner un spell self en una runa y pre-configurarla para que el caster (y obligatoriamente el target) sean quien la lee. Esto sirve para cosas como healing de healer, pero no conviene con firebolt (ya que atacaría a quien lee).


Vamos a probar usar la iniciativa de RMC, que detallo a continuación.
Se tiran 2d10 y se suman, y se le agrega el total de Quickness. También hay algunos modificadores que me gustaría aplicar cuando nos acordemos.

+20 En el primer turno, si tenían el arma afuera
+5 Si tienen al menos una mano libre
-25 Si perdieron más del 50% de los hits
Declaran todas las acciones que quieran hacer, en el orden que quieren hacerlas, hasta ocupar 100%.
Se resuelven, en orden de iniciativa, todas las acciones que toman MENOS de 25%.
Se resuelven, en orden de iniciativa, todas las acciones que toman MENOS de 50%.
Se resuelven, en orden de iniciativa, todas las acciones que toman MENOS de 75%.
Se resuelven, en orden de iniciativa, el resto de las acciones.
Se resuelven cosas que aplican todos los turnos (bleeding, stun, spells, etc.)
En caso de haste o similar, multiplicar los porcentajes anteriores.

Si cuando les toca quieren cancelar su acción y hacer otra cosa, pierden 10% de turno, y si les alcanza con lo que les queda luego, pueden hacer la nueva acción.


Listo a continuación los porcentajes de acción que toman distintas maniobras.
En su mayoría son las de RMFRP, excepto algunas ideas que tomé de RMC.
Si alguna dice A%-B% significa que normalmente toma B%, pero pueden declararla con menos, mínimo A%, y tienen una penalización a la maniobra por apurarse.
Preparar spell90%
Tirar spell no instantáneo75%
Tirar spell instantáneo10%
Usar item mágico75%
Salir de melee y moverse 10' (2 hexes)30%
Ataque melee60%-100%
Ataque missile30%-60%
Parry de un missile attack50%
Moverse (mínimo)10%
Cancelar acción10%
Pasar algo de una mano a la otra10%
Sacar un arma20%
Guardar un arma y sacar otra50%
Cargar Sling50%
Cargar Short Bow60%
Cargar Composite Bow70%
Cargar Long Bow80%
Cargar Light Crossbow170%
Cargar Heavy Crossbow230%
Comer una hierba ya preparada20%
Tomar una poción40%
Usar First Aid (por cada 1 de bleeding)100%
Aplicar una hierba ya preparada100%
Observation con full bonus30%
Observation a -2010%
Agarrar algo que tienen en el cinturón20%
Agarrar algo del piso30%
Soltar algo que tienen en la mano0%
Subirse a un animal50%
Riding (mínimo)15%
Desmontar sin cuidado20%
Desmontar con cuidado50%
Tirarse rápido al piso10%
Tirarse con cuidado al piso20%
Levantarse del piso50%
Sacar 20 en la próxima iniciativa80%
No vamos a usar nada de press/react & attack, sino que lo vamos a manejar normalmente con movimiento y ataque.

Concentrarse no toma un tiempo puntual, sino que mientras mantengan concentración todo lo que hagan toma el doble (Si se mueven 40% concentrándose les toma 80%). Esto es de RMC.

Todo lo que diga missile aplica también a thrown.
Aunque hacer parry de missile requiere 50% y el mínimo de melee es 60%, pueden hacer todo en un turno y les toma 100%, pero al menos 50% de la OB tiene que ir a parar el missile.

Si usan un arma 2 handed, no pueden usar más de 50% de la OB para hacer parry si su oponente tiene arma 1 handed o artes marciales.
Si usan pole arm, no pueden usar más de 50% de la OB para hacer parry, a menos que su oponente también tenga pole arm.
Si usan un arma missile (arco, ballesta, sling), pueden usar hasta el 50% de su OB para hacer parry en melee (se asume que es como un dodge) y pueden optar por bloquear con el arma, lo cual les permite usar el 100% de su OB pero hay buenas chances de que rompan el arma. Esto es de RMC.

Pueden moverse en combate hasta 2x sin problema.

El movimiento requiere mínimo 10% por cada categoría de velocidad. O sea que para moverse a 1x pueden usar 10%-100%, para ir a 2x pueden usar 20%-100%.

Pueden hacer charge, les da +1 a la OB y -1 a la DB por cada 1' que se movieron en línea recta antes de llegar al enemigo. El máximo es +50 OB/-50 DB. Quien tenga melee de mayor alcance tiene +15 en la iniciativa al resolver el charge.

No pueden declarar disengage y un ataque en el mismo turno.

En algunas situaciones que tengan que reorientarse, por ej después de teleport, acrobatics, al derrotar a un enemigo y buscar al siguiente, tienen que usar la maniobra de Observation a -20 (toma 10%). Si la fallan, tienen que usar otro 10% y se terminan de orientar automáticamente. Esto es de RMC.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

ERA beta disponible

Se pueden bajar para probar una versión beta de ERA con reglas de Rolemaster Classic siguiendo lo indicado en este post.
En ese mismo lugar está el detalle de las mejoras incluidas en cada versión.

También hay un nuevo video tutorial, esta vez mostrando la nueva funcionalidad de Magia Activa (3 min).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

ERA para Rolemaster

Este post es para todos aquellos que no se hayan enterado por otro lado: viene avanzando el proyecto de ofrecerle al mundo un sistema que ayude en la creación y mantenimiento de personajes de rol, y también manejo de aventuras para los que decidan sumar una notebook a la mesa de juego.
El nombre designado para el producto es ERA.

A modo de tutorial, se publicaron hasta el momento los siguientes videos:

Estén atentos a este espacio, para el anuncio en el corto plazo de una versión de prueba para bajar.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Historia (super basico, cada personaje ya sabrá lo suyo)

Segunda Era:
Año 500: Comienzan a establecerse los Mah-ilari (imperio de elfos)
Año 2000: Final definitivo de los Mah-ilari como reino dominante
Año 6450: Comienzan las Wars of Dominion
Año 6825: Terminan las Wars of Dominion una vez que intervienen los dioses. Fin de la Era.

Tercer Era:
Año 2750: Llegan los Lotana guiados por Irkuugor (el dragón azul). Forman el reino Wom Kuugor ('Home of the Dragon'), y se hacen llamar Aanac n’Kuugor ('People of the Dragon'). Su rey es el Yaalc Muul ('Guardian Leader').
Año 3981: Yaalc Muul muere, dejando a cargo a su bisnieto, a quien nombra Urduukanga ('Lord Keeper')
Año 4123: Ugus Fost, un walord Haid/Syrkakar, entra al Blue Forest (donde todavía vive la mayoría de los elfos descendientes de los Mah-ilari), mata a los elfos, así como a los otros Haid de la zona, y se declara señor del bosque.
Año 4166: Una fuerza desconocida mata a Ugus Fost y termina su corto reinado. Pocos sobreviven.
Año 5121: Ataque masivo de las tropas Quaidu del Lord of Ulor (Lorgalis) a todo Xa-Ar. Muchas ciudades quedan con virreyes Quaidu a cargo.
Año 5770: Comienza a aumentar la población élfica en el Blue Forest nuevamente.
Año 5839: Ataque de Demonios al castillo principal de los Lotana, donde el rey muere durante la defensa. Sin líderes organizados, el reino se disuelve.
Año 6051: Ante la noticia de una derrota de Ulor en el sur, aumenta la resistencia en Xa-Ar y más pueblos lograr derrocar a sus virreyes Quaidu.
Año 6053: Corren rumores entre los Haid y elfos Jaimani del Blue Forest que el terror de los bosques ha vuelto.

se juega en 6054 TE, Autumn