Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Adventure Begins!

I have a lot to say about:
  • my philosophy on game mastering
  • the development of Alia
  • the organization that led up to the first gaming session
  • 4th edition D&D
..but I have a bit of a backlog right now and since I've started this late and I want to try to catch up, I shall cover some of those other topics in future posts.

Adventure Background

Our heroes have converged in the town of Shinar in Prolia. Prolia is in the process of transformation from a broken collection of fairly independent towns, back towards being the great nation that it once was.

Over the winter, the six Jarls that lead the Prolian towns have met in Shinar, to discuss the naming of a king from among them. All have legitimate claims to the fallen throne. Also the legendary Iron Crown of Prolia has been lost for a hundred years.

The Jarls have decided to solve both problems by issuing a call to heroes to quest for the Iron Crown. Each Jarl will sponsor (and outfit) aspirants to quest for the crown and if one such hero brings back the crown that Jarl will be named King of Prolia. The word has been sent out and would-be heroes have been gathering in Shinar all spring.

Tidemarch is an Empire town/outpost whose main purpose of existence is to look out for the Empire's interests along the Prolian border. (It's the unnamed black dot south east of Belrane - I'll fix the map someday.) The swamp, "Yuri's Doom" and the Giant-backed gnomish forces of Greenhill are an effective overland barrier between the Empire and Prolia and so far the Republic's control over the northern seas has also restricted Empire activity towards Prolia.

Our Heroes

There's been some turbulence in the composition of the party, but initially the group consisted of:
  • Aeldrick, a Human Tactical Warlord
  • Voden, a Dwarf Infernal Pact Warlock
  • Ghesh, a Dragonborn Paladin
  • Minos, a Minotaur, Fighter
Minos won't start in Shinar. Instead, Krodar's armsman Radgar will be played until Minos shows up. (Yeah Minos, the Minotaur... how does one come up with an original name like that?)

Events in Shinar
  1. A call for heroes to find the Iron Crown of the Prolian Kings. Many young would be heroes are forming bands to search for the crown.
  2. Rumour has it that the Iron Crown was lost in the ruined city of Jarlsberg, which was overtaken by Yuri's Doom in the last Empire attack.
  3. The son of Jarl Yutsen of Shinar, Krodar wishes to form a raiding party against the empire town of Tidemarch.
The game really begins in the tavern (surprise, surprise), where a rather large group of (would be) heroes are socializing, planning, forming parties, and discussing which Jarl they'd rather be backing.

Several NPC's are introduced here including Lindrin, a strange Eladrin from a newly discovered island out in the mists of the eastern ocean and Nafrim, a wood elf cleric/ranger that's has come north in search of aid in the Elves long conflict with the Empire of Rhode. The NPCs introduced in the tavern at this stage are candidates for future story tie ins, but I have no specific plans for them at the present. Although these are fully done PC's with sheets and if the players desire they'll join their party.

Krodar gives a stirring speech to the tavern about recapturing the long lost glory days of Prolia where Prolian raiders were feared all across the known seas. He proposes that since there are so many fine heroes in the town with a hatred of the Empire that they should organize a raid on Tidemarch. He's a charismatic leader, stirs up the passion of the crowd and convinces a large crowd of adventurers to accompany him on his foray. He's already arranged for a ship and supplies. (Hopefully, the PC's will join him.)

Broad Adventure Synopsis

Chapter 1: Raid on Tidemarch. Docked ships set afire. Fighting at the harbourfront during raid for supplies. Party sent to raid the armory. Along the way Minos* breaks out/is broken out of the slave barracks. Joins the raid. At the armory, Sir Rodney shows up. Large numbers of soldiers begin to muster. Party cut off from ship, which leaves before being overrun.

Chapter 2: Flight from Tidemarch. Two ways this could go, combat or narrative (depending on situation, whether Rodney still lives, and party desire).

Chapter 3: Possibilities: Yuri's Doom or Greenhill.

Chapter 1 Details

If anyone expresses concern about being left behind in the raid, Krodar arranges for a pickup location 1 day's ride west along the shore. In two days, the a ship will return to pick up any who are separated from the ship. Otherwise Krodar is too confident in his plans to have a backup plan. But (after this undoubtedly happens) will sail the coast to the west looking for survivors on the shore. Unfortunately the shore will be being heavily patrolled by Rodney's men looking for the escaped PC's.

Treasure parcels

In the "Armory"
  1. (non magical) gold Holy Symbol (Stair) worth 1000gp;
  2. Level 4 Suit of Armor +1 (Black Iron or Darkleaf),
  3. Level 3 Thunder Weapon +1,
  4. Level 2 Implement +1 (Pact Blade, Wand, Staff, Orb or Holy Symbol of something).
Encounter 1: Minionfest at the harbour.

When the ship lands there's an fairly quick response from the burlier citizens of Tidemarch. It's lot's of "Human Rabble".

PC's get to deal with their own section of them. Suggest 1 Human Bandit + 3 Rabble per PC beyond 1. Also PC's may help other knots of fighting if they choose to and/or if their combat is going poorly they may be aided by some of the other heroes.

After defeating the bulk of the rabble, Krodar congratulates the PC's on their bravery and asks them to try to find/destroy/raid the heavily fortified building up the main road that looks like an armory, while the bulk of the crew begin loading essential supplies from the dockside warehouses.

Encounter 2: More rabble on the streets.

A short way up the main street are a group of 3 Human Rabble/per party member beyond 1, One Human Berserker. This time the party is unsupported.

This encounter will be tied in with escape of Minos and retreat of Radgar.

The battle will happen right near the slave-pen where Minos is being held. Minos is a recaptured minotaur slave of the empire. He was making a run for the borders of the Empire when he met with a patrol that recaptured him. He's being kept in a solid-looking cell off the main road in Tidemarch, until he can be sent back to his owner.

During the confusion of the battle taking place outside the door, Minos will get a chance to escape.

After the battle is resolved, Radgar will notice that another fight has started on the docks and will decide to return to help with it.

Encounter 3: Armory Guards.

Two guards are stationed at the armory as well as some Human Rabble.

If the PC's break into the Armory, they find it is in fact a Church of the Order of Man. It does however have a decorative armor stand displaying the magic items (treasure parcels 2,3,4) .

On the altar is the h0ly symbol (treasure parcel 1).

Encounter 4: Rodney rides in.

Sir Rodney mounted on his Warhorse, shows up with 3 guards to try to organize the defense of the town. He participates in one round of combat with his guards and then leaves them to deal with the PC's while he rides off towards the docks.

Sir Rodney is an Elite based off of "Human Guard" with the Warlord monster class template from the DMG.

Event: Warning of Trouble

A Prolian raider runs past, and tells the party that the Empire has mobilized. A large force of soldiers interposes itself between the docks and the PC's. After a few minutes of fighting retreat, the crew and the ship sails off. It's possible for the PC's to sneak or fight their way back to the ship but quite dangerous. It's fairly obvious that the defenders are overwhelmingly strong. Dozens of well equipped (non-minion) soldiers Human Guards have mobilized out of the barracks. If the PC's flee, a bunch (maybe 12) will attempt to follow them out of the city.

Encounter 5: Leaving by the gates.

Two Human Guards are stationed at the gates. No rabble. Two guards should be a fairly easy fight but the dozen reinforcements following behind are an incentive to finish it quickly. The guards don't have to be killed, engaging the guards, opening the gates and moving past is probably the quickest way to deal with them. Make sure the pursuers from event 1 aren't right on the party's heel, or TPK is likely. If they are closely pursued, the gates should probably be unguarded.


The opposition in these encounters is quite vanilla. Humans, Sir Rodney, Warhorse. This is intentional. This will be the first adventure that I'm running in 4e. I don't want to bite off more than I can deal with in the initial combats, but if I'm feeling up to it, I may mix in some other humans into the encounters. An additional Berserker or Human Mage in some of the plainer encounters could mix things up a bit. I also want to give the players time to get used to how their powers work and see how 4e D&D plays before I start making things more complicated.

There are ZERO 1st level monsters in the first chapter of this 1st level adventure. I'm being careful to stay within the experience guidelines for encounters, but I expect there will be a little bit more missing than I'd like. I may level-adjust all of the humans, except for Sir Rodney and his warhorse down to level 1, to make things easier for everybody. If I do, I will increase the number of enemies in the easier encounters.

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