Household Objects (or MacGyvering Non-D&D Ideas into my Games)

So, the other day my younger daughter’s boyfriend’s car broke down.  During the diagnosis and repair process, it was discovered that the belt for the “Harmonic Balancer” had to be replaced.  Now, I have no idea what a “Harmonic Balancer” is or what it does and I don’t care to Google it to find out.  Yet, I cannot help, but to want a “Harmonic Balancer” into my games.  This is not the first time that I have been inspired to create something for Rilmorn from a non-fantasy/non-D&D object or idea.

Before I get into some of my odd inspirations, let me talk about Listerine.  This one is a cheat; it had a D&D idea in it.  In 1992, Listerine put out some great ads; including one with a bottle of Listerine wielding a sword inscribed with “Plaque Slayer” on one side of the blade and “Germ Killer” on the other side.  This, perhaps not surprisingly, led me into creating a like-named sword that was dedicated to slaying oozes and slimes.  It seemed a bit silly, at the time, but it came in quite handy when my PCs encountered Juiblex and its minions.

Men at Work, an Australian band, had a hit called “Down Under,” which was all about people from Australia, but I saw it different and created the Morloi.  The song has a chorus that changes slightly each time it sung.  I took inspiration from two of those choruses:

And she said, “Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder? Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover

And he said, “I come from a land down under Where beer does flow and men chunder Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover”

From this, I envisioned a race of humans that dwelt underground.  The men for heavy drinking raiders and the women were farmers that had visible auras about them.  I learned from Casey Kasem that “chundering” was an Australian term for “chugging beer,” thus my heavy drinking plunderers.  The idea that women were glowing farmers came from me misunderstanding one of the later choruses and believing that the line sang was “I come from a Land Down Under; where women plow and men plunder.”  How was I to know that they didn’t rhyme the words “plough” and “glow?”  I created their name by combining the two races of humanity the future presented in H. G. Wells The Time Machine, the Morlocks and the Eloi.  The last time I used the Morloi, they were traveling through time to escape a disaster that was destroying their homeland.

I don’t remember if I was using a Bulletin Board System (BBS) or was on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), but one day this GM posted asking about local businesses which had names that would make great D&D names or ideas.  He had such a name, but his Players all knew about the local business and it break the suspension of disbelief if he used it.  The name was “Lunghammer.”  I took that name a created a dragon slaying orc out of it.  “Lung” is the transliteration of the Chinese word for “dragon.”  “Lunghammer” is something that hits dragons.  He became an orc, because Lunghammer sounds like something that orc would do…”I hammer your lungs!”

So, what will the “Harmonic Balancer” be?  Is it a magical ritual that keeps intrusions from the Elemental Planes contained?  Could it be a bardic singing sword?  Does it have anything to with controlling the elementals that are being summoned within the Bazarene Circuit?  Could it be a device needed to keep the engines of Bazarene from exploding?  What would you do with such a named device?

Until we meet again, Game On!

Advertisements

Namoria and Terah (or How I Failed at Modules Between Editions)

When I was working on a post about Retrocontinuity , I discovered that I could not find a post to which I wanted to link.  It turns out that I never finished or posted that particular post. Here it is.

In late 1999 AD, my Players and I finished up my latest campaign – the one where one PC was a werewolf, who didn’t know he was a werewolf and another PC was a midwife working to keep her vampiric step-father’s condition a secret and my Oriental Adventures campaign had never really gelled and taken off.  We were all psyched up for 3E, but we didn’t want to wait until August 2000 AD to play again.  I didn’t want to start a new campaign in Rilmorn that I would have to convert for the new edition, so I decided to take up an idea from Mike Magee.

Back in the 80’s, Mike suggested that, since I owed so many modules, I should run a game using only modules.  The idea was for me to run the modules as written; I wouldn’t create my own plot lines.  As we played through each module, I’d place any maps in the module contiguous to already existing maps, ignoring any anomalous terrain issues.  Thus, I’d create a mosaic world made up of Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Krynn.  It was a cool idea, but since I had been running a continuing Game World in Rilmorn, I never took the time to try it.  The downtime between editions seemed like the perfect time to try it out.

I had B2 – Keep on the Borderlands and Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, so I decided to use that as the foundation for this campaign. I had two solid versions of a great sandbox-style game module, a copy of B1 – In Search of the Unknown (a site which was marked on the maps of both Keep on the Borderlands modules), and a group of self-directed players.  Once I dropped a few plot hooks in, this campaign should have rolled itself right out.  I flopped right out of the starting gate.

I just could not run a campaign ex nihilo.  I felt compelled to create an empire, so I could have borderlands into which I place the Keep.  So, I came up with the Namorian Empire.  Namoria was based on Rome with a strong Celtic influence.  I wrote up a historical timeline.  I designed a calendar with 12 months, each one named after one of the first twelve emperors.  I also went on to adjust some of the history written into the module about Kendal Keep (the name given to the Keep in Return to the Keep on the Borderlands). No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it.

I use other modules and adventures, but rather than run them mosaic style, I tried to blend them into the campaign seamlessly.  It became a rather fun campaign, but personality issues and a storyline that got out of hand led to the demise of the Namori Campaign.

Skip to several campaigns later, we are well versed in using 3E and I am running my Sanderzani Campaign.  I am trying to add a bit of Lovecraftian horror to my store and quietly insert Yog-Sothoth into the background.  I, then, begin to attempt to draw the PCs across time and space.  I take modules, The Sunless Citadel by Bruce Coredell and The Standing Stone by John D. Rateliff (author of Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, by the way) and blended them and their maps to create an adventure for my gypsy band.  I tied it to the characters and adventurers of the previous campaign.  It went over well, but I never really got to reveal all the secrets I wove into that adventure setting.

But, my tale of woe doesn’t end there.  I got the D&D Next Play Test materials and attempted to run them for various Players.  I decided to put those materials into this world.  I ended up creating a weird map that was supposed to be changed as more play test materials came out. Unless the objects and places appearing on the map were labeled and oriented correctly, they didn’t actually exist.  Everything else on the on the map was in flux and subject to change.  I tied some of the adventures to the Isle of the Dreamers from my original Namori Campaign and would later use some of this material as background for my short-lived gnome campaign.  Now, I’m using this material and setting to expand on the Isle of the Dreamers.  It never ends.

Game On!

Counter Burnout (or How did I Get my Game Back?)

The past few months have been poor gaming.  Between my work schedule, stuff going on with my Players’ families, and illness on my part, I’ve not ran a game, since March.  At first, it wasn’t too bad.  I reread the modules that I wanted to mix and run for my Pellham campaign.  I figured out how to connect the Tower of the Heavens to the Brotherhood of Brie.  I developed the powers for the Florist-Madam Fescue and the Emerald Eye.  I worked on the Zentlan map.  Then, things began to slow done.  I had ideas that I wanted work on, but I had no energy to do so.  I had all the symptoms of burnout, but I hadn’t done anything to burn out upon.  I have, this day, dubbed my malady counter burnout.

I didn’t burn out because I had too much of doing something, I burnt out because I didn’t do enough of something.  I was all prepped up to run a game; heck, I was prepped up to run two different games.  “They also serve who stand and wait,” but I waited so long, I ran out of interest in anything related to gaming.  It was only by getting bad news and keeping a promise that I got my game back.

A good friend  __, the assistant manager at my place of employment, has cancer and has been in a drug trial to counter the lesions in his brain.  This Friday past, he was taken off the trial; because the treatment isn’t working for him anymore.  That was the bad news.  I promised Russell Newquist that I would review Ghost of the Frost Giant King.  His request came at a time when my home life and work life were getting out of control; then came the counter burnout.  With __’s news, I really started seeing things in a new light.  I had people who respected me enough to want my opinion of their creativity and my support in promoting it.  About the time my counter burnout went full bore, Joe the Revelator asked me to submit material for StatBonus.com.  I hadn’t done that, either.  I was not happy with where I was, so I decided to do something about it.

I started my review of Ghost of the Frost Giant King.  When I began my review, I was looking for negatives and I was unhappy.  My wife asked me what I would do, if I had been asked to review a Monte Cook title and I realized that I would be looking at the product as a whole and seeing how I could adapt it to my game.  Between that and __’s positive outlook on his upcoming radiation and chemo treatments, I went back, started at the beginning, reread, and reevaluated Ghost of the Frost Giant King.  Looking at the work as a whole and seeing the complexity layered into it, it reignited my gaming desires.  Completing and posting my review, both on my blog and on DriveThruRPG.com, has refueled my game.  I submitted an article for review at StatBonus.com.  I can’t wait to alter Ghost of the Frost Giant King and make use of it in my game.  I am looking forward to  reviewing The Blacksmith and the Ice Elves, a short story written by Morgan Newquist and set in Ghost of the Frost Giant King setting.  I never suspected that not gaming could burn me out, as easily as over playing could.  I am glad that I have friends that look out for me, even when they do not know that they are doing so.

Game On!

C is for Coin

Adventures rush to loot the dragon’s bed, after the dragon is dead.  Heroes, they may be, but they all run toward the demon cult’s treasury.  Before they save the princess from her fate, they must, the fee, negotiate.  Why, because money is the grease that lubricates the gears of a civilization and it is part of the Players’ reward for their PCs succeeding. (2015.04.16) (2015.05.28)

In many ways, gold (also called gold pieces, g.p., GP, or gp) is simply a score card for D&D.  The more money the PCs have, the more “magic stuff” (magic armor, enchanted weapons, raise dead spells) they can afford.  David Noonan, in a D&D Insider podcast, once said that there was no real economy in a Dungeons and Dragons Game.  The silver pieces given to the NPC baker for a loaf of journey bread are not then given to the NPC miller, so that the NPC baker can get more flour.  This is true in any Player/GM encounter.  Coin only appears in a game when the PCs have it.  (I do not count treasure listed in monster/NPC write-ups to be “in play,” since their only purpose to tell the GM what to give the PCs, if they “win.”)  It is a counter and nothing more, but it doesn’t have to be... (2015.04.16) (2015.05.28)

Each version of D&D has had a monetary system that consisted of coins of various metals and denominations.  Each version of D&D has used the gold piece (gp) as the standard unit of measure for wealth, but the rates of exchange between coins have changed.  In 1E, there was the copper piece (c.p.) which was valued at 1/10 of a silver piece (s.p.) which was equal to 1/10 of an electrum piece (e.p.), which had a value of ½ of a gold piece (g.p.), which carried a value of 1/5 of a platinum piece (p.p.).  Thus (to lift the example from page 35 of the first edition of the Players Handbook):  “200 c.p. = 20 s.p. = 2 e.p. = 1 g.p. = 1/5 p.p.”  In 2E, the ratios between the coins remained the same, but the abbreviations for the coins changed to CP, SP, EP, GP, and PP.  Money in 3E was simplified.  10 cp was equal to 1 sp, 10 sp equaled 1 gp, and 10 gp was worth 1 pp.  4E numismatistics gave use a new currency: astral diamonds (ad) and changed the conversion ratio between gold and platinum.  1 pp was, then, equal to 100 gp, while an ad was equal to 10,000 gp.  4E, clearly, saw the PCs running around with LOTS spending cash.  5E has also had its hand in fiddling with the value of a gold piece.  Now, 100 cp = 10 sp = ½ ep = 1 gp = 1/10 pp.  Sweet mercy, this is a boring paragraph.

Despite the obvious snooze factor in the previous paragraphs, coinage does not have to be simply a scorecard or boring.  Coins do not appear ex nihilo, they are products of the civilizations and cultures that produce and use them.  They are artifacts that can be used to tell stories of a lost people or give PCs clues to possible dangers in the area where the coins were found.  Differing monetary systems between neighboring nations could offer Players roleplaying opportunities.  I have tried and will try again to put such devices to use in my games.

During my 1E days, Lewis Pulsipher, in Dragon #74, suggested changing from the sometimes arcane D&D gold standard to a decimal-based silver standard that dropped electrum coins and changed the size and weight of coins, so the number of coins went from 10 to pound to about 216+ to a pound.  I changed to a silver standard and decided that there were 100 coins to pound.  Mike Magee (Gareth Eybender’s Player and designer of Elethar) took this idea and created a currency system for the elven kingdom of Elethar.

Base currency: Pyramid (silver piece)

Coinage:  1 argentel Gareth = 10 platinum Castles = 100 gold Crowns = 1000 silver Pyramids = 10000 copper Tenthmids = 100000 steel Centimids (often referred to as “cents”)

 

Eletharian currency is noted throughout Rilmorn for its purity. Counterfeiting is a capital crime in the Kingdom, and Elethar’s Intelligence Service works diligently at home and abroad pursuing those who would forge or debase the kingdom’s currency

Robert Hegwood provided some images of coins used by the Empire of Xshathrapat.  I’m going use some of those images (slightly altered) in my Pellham campaign.  I don’t know if I will attempt a return to the silver standard, since my present players seem fairly attached the standard system, but I am going to start making coins from different countries unique and attempt to use those differences to improve the feel for each region and give more depth to my setting. (2015.04.16)

I am not the only one who works on making their world’s coinage more than a counter on a scorecard.  D. at Fluer de mal has a post about currency on his world here and here and here.

Do any of you, my good readers, make use of coins to spice up your games?

Game On!

B is for Bull

2015.04.05

In the history of Rilmorn, two Players, John Hesselberg and Robert Hegwood, have made use of bull imagery when designing countries within the game world.  John did it within the game as the PC Alkin du Fey Duncan; while Robert created Xshathapat externally as a designer.  While they each came to the art of creation from different directions, John and Robert both gave me ideas, events, and images that I intend to use in my Pellham campaign.

The first use of the bull imagery in Rilmorn came when John’s half-elven ranger, Alkin du Fey, attempted to free an area from an oppressive bandit overlord.  After a bit of deft diplonacy, Alkin and his friend and fellow adventurer Gareth Eybender convinced the overlord to a contest.  The contest would be a fight between two bulls.  The winner of the contest would take leadership of the populace and the loser would depart.  The local populace would attend the contest and assure that both parties abided by the outcome.  There was supposed to be no magic involved, but of course the bandit overlord had his bull’s horns enchanted to be sharper and deadlier than normal bull’s horns.  Alkin, on the hand took a nursing male calf and had a blacksmith craft a harness with large spikes at the shoulders.  The day before the contest Alkin and Gareth kept the calf from its mother; so when the calf was released into the arena with the bandit overlord’s enchanted bull, it rushed toward the first cow it saw and attempted nurse.  Even though the populace acclaimed Alkin their ruler, Gareth and Alkin were still forced to fight and slay the bandit overlord.  After that was done, Alkin declared the red bull as the symbol of the Alki; a symbol that would remain when years later the ruler of Alkis would marry an heir to the Duchy of Dyskor and form the Kingdom of Alko-Dyskoria.  The

The next time I encountered bull imagery in Rilmorn was when Robert Hegwood handed me a red folder; handwritten on the cover were these words: “A NOT BRIEF ENOUGH OVERVIEW OF XSHATHRAPAT, THE ISLAND Empire of The WEST.”  Robert had designed an entire culture based around some background history and mythology that I had created for Rilmorn and Persian Zoroastrianism with a touch of medieval Christian missionary zeal.  Among those pages I found coin emblazoned with a bull’s head and the note, “The bull is the symbol of “Godly Rule and Might.”  Later I found the flag for the Xshathrapatian Navy, which bore a winged Bull.

Robert also created a timeline for the combined efforts of Alko-Dyskoria and Xshathrapat to colonize an unnamed continent to the West.  I never really dealt with any of that information until I started working on Iolta and Thrain.  Using Robert’s work, I filled in a lot of geography and history about Iolta and created the legends of the Tribes of the Winged Bull and the Red Bull.  Also, there are “Bulls,” gold coins bearing the image of a bull, hidden among lost treasure hoards.

The point of all of this is that letting your players create can help a GM to build other things.  I don’t recall planning on letting Alkin become a ruler, but I am glad he did.  Having Alkis as Alkin’s home base gave me plenty of hooks for games.  Alkin and Gareth had to defeat evils threatened the populace.  Some games required Alkin to be a diplomat; while others made him an archaeologist in his own kingdom.  Robert’s work offered broad stroke history from which I could mine.  Xshatrapat became a story to be told around tavern hearths.  Legends of its rise and collapse added to relics and artifacts found in dragons’ hoards and ancestral tombs.  Later all of this would be used as underpinning for Iolta and Thrain.

Game On!

Reoccurring Themes (or Gregory, Don’t go There Again)

I’ve been working on where I expect or hope my Pellham campaign is going and I’ve found myself looking at some familiar territory.  There are types of stories that I like.  I like alternate dimensions stories.  I like time travel stories.  I like Faery stories.  I like to use them in my games, too.  I like them a lot.  In addition to ideas and themes for my games, these stories also connect to places in Rhillmoran; places I have used again and again.  My Pellham campaign has seeds of these stories it and they are leading me back to my favorite, but possibly overused, stories and places.  I wonder if I need to break away from my favorite stories.

Castle Timeless has been a staple of my games since the 1980s.  It has been a rare campaign that did not see at least one trip to Castle Timeless.  During the Giants in the Earth and the Tasque Elzeny campaigns, Castle Timeless got a makeover.  I’ve been thinking about using Castle Timeless, because of a few throw away lines and plot point in the backstory of C5: Llywelyn’s Bane.  It, also, doesn’t help that C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness (one of the other modules slated for use in the Pellham campaign) has an often missed time travel component.  Going to Castle Timeless certainly places Pellham in Rhillmoran, but it opens up a whole can of wyrms in that it will tempt me to run a time travel mini campaign and I’ve done that time and time again.

Faery locales are going to be part of this campaign.  I’ve already placed Ardenmore in Adran Silverleaf’s back story.  So, how do I keep from retreading old ground?  My fey folk and fey realm should be different than they have been before.  This is going to be hard, since I like my fey to have a Celtic sensibility and Pellham is a Celtic-style setting.  It doesn’t help that I’ve got a “Hollow Hills opening on the Night of a Full Moon” idiom running with this, too.  I guess I’ll just have to turn these fey “up to 11” and go full bore with them.  Make them the Fey of the Fey and play it for all that it is worth.  They are capricious, enigmatic, and dangerous benefactors and patrons.  They are brave, valiant, and noble allies and villains.  Their plans and their beliefs are not easily understood by mere mortals, even if those mortals are their elven descendants and cousins.  It should be great fun, if I can play it right; I’ve misplayed this style of NPC multiple times before.

I don’t see how I can get away from alternate dimensions in this campaign.  If the PCs follow through the entire plot as devised by the modules, then they must enter an alternate dimension.  I’ve did a lot of development on this alternate dimension for a failed campaign (outside forces pulled Players away), so I may be able to make this work for me.  The provided storyline only has the PCs there for a relatively short time and the alternate dimension is completely unlike the rest of the setting, so this could easily work to my advantage.  I’ve got an “alien,” but not lethal environment into which the PCs can adventure.  It plots well and is part of the module collection, so if I use it and it alone, then I should not get caught up in a plane hopping campaign, which can really be fun.

Having covered my “big” flaws in the previous three paragraphs, I must now move on and discuss a harder drive in my gaming themes.  I want to connect this game to other games that I have run.  I’ve been thinking about placing a connection to the Shadowfell Road in Pellham or Inverness; this would open up a connection to Moytonia and I would be tempted to pull things from Barovia and the Walking Wood into Iolta and that might dilute this setting.  I really want to place a connection to Castle Timeless and I’ve already explained why that is a bad idea.  While I have not yet designed them, I know there are magical trees in Pellham and they could easily be connected to the Quan.  Even though this campaign takes place over a thousand years after Giants in the Earth and Tasque Elzeny, a connection to the Quaan would let me access Feldspar, E3 Trading Company, and Spellguard.  While a link on Thrain to the World of Terah would allow me to bring threats from the Caves of Chaos and possibly connect the PCs to the Isle of Celestia and the Dreamers, it would be bringing in alternate dimensions.

Want to know what reeks in all of this; writing out this post has given me a half dozen or more ideas that I now am interested in dropping into the Pellahm campaign.  What do you think I should do?

Game On!

Plots and Prophecies (or Gregory Learns Something About Running Modules)

We gamed our second session of the Pellham Campaign on December 6th and it went off without a hitch.  It was a joy to run and seemed to be a hit with my Players, too.  I got to run with my PCs goals and use ideas from the modules that I picked as the basis for this campaign.  In running this game, I may have discovered the best way for me to run modules.  It was great!

Two things came into play from the Players’ side of the table.  Firstly, I got to introduce part of James Andari’s work on The Prophecy.  Before James (Adran’s Player) had even seen a copy of the Prophecy, he came up with five ways the Prophecy could be fulfilled.  They are 1) Llywelyn could simply reappear, 2) Llywelyn could return through a blood relative, 3) Llywelyn could return in the form of someone who shared a similar history and ideology, 4) someone raised outside Pellham would come take the throne just as Llywelyn was and did, and 5)Llywelyn could be stored to “life” by a powerful druid or necromancer.  I used this framework to introduce a Claimant to the Throne.  Secondly, the “Sons”…I mean the “Soldiers of Anarchy,” took out their first target.  The SoA is a movement (started by Vadis Mal and Stone (played Brandon Mokofisi and Steven Goff, respectively) dedicated to freeing slaves and punishing slavers.  The Soldiers of Anarchy took on and eliminated their first target, a kidnapper and pimp named Joshua.  Cool things.

On the GM’s side of the table, I got to expound a bit on a landmark in the city of Widdershin (the Pillars of Nimra) and hint at a future plot line (Stephen, heir of Llywelyn).  I had a blast dropping new NPCs into the game, but I am still bad at giving them names (ergo: Thug and an unnamed dwarf).  I, also, discovered a few things that help me run canned adventures and this should be the bulk of my post.

Firstly, I need to look for modules and adventures that can be easily sandboxed.  Since C3: To Find a King was written as competition module, it comes in easily separated sections and each section details a completely different area.  I can place those sections where I need them in my setting and use them, when the Players reach them.  This gives me set pieces which I can build around.  Throne of Evil is a historical romance turned into a D&D game.  While the adventure itself is nothing more than a dungeon crawl with a single wilderness encounter and an espionage paint job, it is filled with historical backstory and little bits of lore scattered through the text.  By blending the backstory in Throne of Evil with the backstory of To Find a King, I can fill in blanks in both stories and use them to better fit into my world.

Secondly, using two or more canned adventures gives me a better way to foreshadow events and expand my Players’ view of the world.  In To Find a King, the PCs have to chase down “The Evil Party” who has bought their prize out from under them.  In the module, there is no reason given for why the Evil Party (while the NPCs have names, they are listed in the NPC section as “Evil Party”) wants the keys.  With the information from Throne of Evil, I could provide a reason.  My Players already didn’t care for Lord Mortimer, a member of the Sovereign Council, because of his sudden discovery of a lost heir of Llywelyn, but when they found Robert Mortimer’s seal upon Blackleaf, a member of the Evil Party, they knew he was a villain and are waiting for the day to give him pay back.

Thirdly, doing everything I can to make the module personal to the PCs and their Players gives it depth and allows for actions not covered in the modules.  Vadis was sold into slavery after his family was betrayed in a power grab in the city of Krell’s Gate.  Malcom Evinter, Lord Krell, was the one who betrayed Vadis Mal’s parents.  While Vadis believes his parents got what they deserved, he won’t trust Lord Krell.  The elf Blackleaf becomes Adran Blackleaf, childhood rival of Adran Silverleaf, thus a member of the Party has a reason to fight from the word “Go” or a chance to parley with a known “frenemy.”

Fourthly, by using the ideas of the various encounters instead of the written encounters, I can make these events seem more organic.  The encounter with Lord Krell is very complicated and involves delaying tactics and traps, but when I ran it, I used it as a roleplaying opportunity.  I kept all the pieces; I just used them for different tasks.  It really is all about stealing and adapting.

So, my readers, do you have any suggestions for me on this topic?

Game On!

Prophecy and Players (or Adapting Modules to Fit my Game World)

Today is my one year anniversary since I began World Engineer.  I feel this is a good post for this date.  It speaks to the type of work I do for my game. So, please Read On!

While I’ve whined about being poor at running “canned adventures,” I’ve also built more than one setting around them.  My Pellham campaign is the most ambitious of the lot to date, but I’m discovering that it also the one requiring the most work in adapting it to Rhillmoran.  Because I encourage my Players to build parts the world, as they develop their PCs’ backgrounds, I am required to adjust and mold my designs.  These actions become compounded when I am adapting someone else’s material.  It has become increasing clear that I have much work to do on the “Prophecy of Llywelyn’s Return.

I left it open for Players to create PCs that were connected to the Brotherhood of Brie – the group in the module C4: To Find a King that first discovers “The Prophecy” and I kept alluding to the importance the Sovereign Council put upon “The Prophecy” in game, so I should have not been surprised when a Player placed his PC in Brie and began expounding upon the nature of “The Prophecy” and expanding upon its history.  Now, taking that into account and adding the facts that the PC is elven and could have been around during the reign of Alendus the Second and has been studying “The Prophecy” for two hundred years, leaves me with a lot of work to do, especially since I never found my original notes on my “corrections” to the “Prophecy of Brie” and I have game on Sunday, December 6, 2014.

Here is a copy of the Prophecy as it was presented in the module:

 

WITH SIX HANDS OF LORING THE

LOST UPON THE WHEEL OF TIME,

AT THE MOMENT BAZEL MOUNTS

HIS CHARIOT TO DO BATTLE WITH

THE SEVEN DAUGHTERS, THE

DEAD KING SHALL RISE TO SEIZE

THE TRIAD WITH HANDS THAT

CONNOT GRASP AND EYES THAT

CANNOT SEE.  ALL WARDS BROKEN

AND THE MYSTIC BARRIERS

PIERCED WITH MATING SWORDS,

THREE SAINTS AND SINNERS WILL

STRUGGLE IN THE DUST, BOTH

AND NEITHER TO TRIUMPH, AND

WHILE THE SUNDERED EARTH

SPEWS FORTH THE DREGS OF CEN-

TURIES, A NEW ORDER SHALL

COME UPON THE LAND.

Here are my problems:  1) I don’t have the constellations BAZEL’S CHARIOT or the SEVEN DAUGHTERS in my game universe, 2) The DEAD KING doesn’t define which king, so how does the Brotherhood of Brie know that the Dead King Returning would be Llywelyn, 3) The verses about THREE SAINTS AND SINNERS are fulfilled in C5: Llywelyn’s Bane, but in such a heavy handed manner that it is offensive, and 4) The final stanzas are clearly connected to the THREE SAINTS AND SINNERS in The Prophecy, but they are not in the narrative.  Just as a side note, I don’t like the look of the Prophecy either; I acknowledge that it was done that way to fit into the typesetting for the module, but it just doesn’t work for me.

My planned corrections: 1) I haven’t mapped out my constellations, but I do have a wandering star that appears as a red point of light every 26 years.  I will create the legend of Bazel and the constellation Bazel’s Chariot.  The Seven Daughters change from stars to the three moons of Rhillmoran.  When the Red Star aligns with the Chariot of Bazel, it is called “Bazel mounting his Chariot;” it happens every 26 years.  Every 40 years Bazel’s Chariot crosses behind the three moons, when they are full, some call this “Bazel Battles the Sister’s Three.”  2) For this section. I will alter the information to better fit the idea that the Prophecy may be about Llywelyn.  3 and 4) These section requires me to delete the offending planned events and to rewrite the stanzas entirely.

So, I’ve rewritten it to fit my game.  Here is the Rhillmoric version of the Prophecy of Llywelyn’s Return

WITH SIX HANDS OF LORING THE LOST UPON THE WHEEL OF TIME,

AT THE MOMENT BAZEL MOUNTS HIS CHARIOT TO DO BATTLE WITH THE THREE SISTERS,

A JUST MONARCH SHALL AGAIN RISE FROM BEYOND.

WHEN MYSTIC BARRIERS PIERCED WITH THEIR MATING SWORDS AND WARDS ARE BROKEN,

RETURN TO THE BIRTH OF MEN,

FOR BOTH AND NEITHER TO TRIUMPH

SAINTS AND SINNERS WILL STRUGGLE THROUGH THE DUST,

AND WHEN THE SUNDERED EARTH SPEWS FORTH THE DREGS OF CENTURIES,

A NEW ORDER SHALL COME UPON THE LAND.

So what do you all think and how have you had to recreate module themes to fit your games?

Game On!

NPCs for Iolta and Thrain

Persons of Interest

  Being a Limited Listing of People and Beings In and Around Pellham

  Persons One May Find in Widdershin

Amena – proprietor of the Blue Lantern

Antha – owner of the Flower Shop, her florists moonlight as                Green Gowns

Argus – secretary and valet

Aspen – member of the Sovereign Council

Caleb – runs the Amorous Congress for discreet ladies and                 gentlemen

Gwidon – Seneschal of the Sovereign Council

Morgance – owns the Bunny House, a drinking                                          establishment that holds rabbit races and offers                      companionship for lonely gentlemen

Nessa – Priestess of the Temple of the Tuatha

Robert Mortimer – Lord Marcher and member of the                            Sovereign Council

Silvern – keel boat captain

Thug – half-fomori mercenary enforcer

Travis – riverside merchant

Valentrue – member of the Sovereign Council

People in Dun Daegal

Adric of Clan McMurdock – Ri of Dun Daegal

Pwyll mac Adric – Adric’s heir

Connor mac Cormac – farmer

Dairmaid mac Owen – vintner Donnall mac Airt – farmer Gallar Garmson – skald

Jon Kelsogson – blacksmith

Lughdal mac Dughal – farmer

Markus – Priest at St. Brendan’s Kirk

Njal Merrikson – brownsmith

Paulus – Priest at St. Brendan’s Kirk

Yorik Gimnerson – whitesmith

Sidhe of Ardenmore

Eldarlieth, Lady of Castlerock

Gramine, Lord of Castlerock

Ardlanth, Oracle of Thoan

Dvegar of Durvandell

Balin – Prince of Durvandell, Lord of Ormhall, Master of                   Clan Uldra

Alvis Allwise – Balin’s First Councilor

Wanderers

This is a list of NPCs my Players have encountered or have reason to know about.  It will be an ongoing work-in-progress.  Unlike my other posts, when I update this list, I won’t use a green font to denote corrections, updated material, or additions.

From the Ashes of Past Campaigns

Back in the mid 1990s, I tried to run a non-Realmorin campaign.  It was going to be based in Celto-Nordic setting with Greco-Roman invaders as the sometimes allies/sometimes enemies.  I had made many lists of important persons, each list based around a culture or or location.  I had a Bard NPC, who was the lynch pin to the campaign plot.  I got to pull ideas and uses from my Chivalry and Sorcery books.  It was great!

It ended with the first game.  It was not as quick an ending as the “Thirty Minute Campaign” (If you really want to know about this one, comment and I’ll try to develop a decent post about it), but it ended quick enough.  The game ended when one of my Players got it in his head to kill off the Camber McGregor – the Bard that my plot hinged upon.  The game folded at that point, because I saw no way to move the game forward and it seemed obvious that my Players didn’t care for this campaign.  It was sad; I was really invested in that campaign setting. (2013.11.23)

Twenty Years Later – I can make use of the lists of NPCs that I created so long ago.  I don’t even remember the plot line of the original campaign, but that doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the setting.  Iolta and Thrain is a Celto-Nordic setting.  I’ve got my reclusive dwarven kingdom and my hidden elven realms.  Norn is Viking-central.  I am thrilled to have players invested in the setting and since I am not thrusting a plot upon them, I can fill in the Spaces of Setting and enjoy it as much as my Players enjoy playing in it.

Yea!

Do any of my fellow GMs have tales of getting to use things that they failed to use before?

Game On!