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Announcements and News / Avisarr Campaign Notes and Session Summaries
« Last post by David Roomes on June 16, 2019, 06:48:37 PM »
This is just a heads up.

Nathan Sherman, a friend of mine and former member of my gaming group (who is now living in California) is planning on running the Avisarr campaign on his current gaming group. As a favor to him, I'm going to remove the Avisarr notes and session summaries from the website. That way he can show the web site to his players, but there will be no "spoiler" information about the Avisarr campaign on there. I'll be removing that information later this week.

If anyone else out there is currently running the Avisarr campaign or reading the summaries or otherwise wants access to that material, just email me at the Contact link above. I will be happy to share the Avisarr campaign and all related materials with anyone who wants it (except for Nathan's players, of course -  ;) ).

I will re-upload the Avisarr campaign and session summary information back to the website at a later date, to be determined.

Email me with any questions or concerns. Or just to say hi, what the hell. :)

General Discussion and Questions / Re: Alliance mage Lords
« Last post by Delbareth on January 03, 2019, 03:32:13 PM »
In fact, even with Karrym and Drellis, I very often say "the sun" and never "the suns" or "the stars". So There won't be any problem for that I guess.

- A real problem could have been the lack of Drellis effect, but the scene takes place the first week of July during a would-be balanced phase.
- I already though about changing names of countries or languages ("-PC : Hey DM, you didn't told us the name of the empire we live in ! - DM : Uhhhh...).
- They could ask me in which year they live, but last time I played in Carrikos around 2500 C.C they didn't ask... Anyway, I will say their country have set its own calendar, and they live in the 470th year.
Please, tell me what else could be a clue for you to discover the truth.

The main issue of this adventure idea is that these events are very cool to describe, but not necessarily interesting to play. It's a kind of survival adventure, not at all what I want. I want to show the Assembly Hall, but there is nothing some PCs can do there. Mage-lords are extremely powerful and can solve every problem without help. So I imagined two things :
- a Traxx commando attack, shielded with the most potent traxxian anti-magic. A situation where quickly-reacting warriors can have a role, before mage-lords can understand and adapt to the situation (and kill the commado).
- a false adventure: to make it simple, their mage-lord master thinks there is a treator among the other mage-lords, who plots to overcome his own position. In fact it's only the pre-Sundering disturbances which destroy some of their cosmology spells. PCs are sent in the Assembly Hall to find the treator (they have clues he can be there at this very moment).
When they come back in Tosche, and when the Sundering happens, my goal is to make them think as long as possible it's "only" this treator assaulting their master mansion. Tower explosion, OK. First earthquake, OK because they don't know it is a continent-wide earthquake. Burning light, why not. End of magic, OK he can be very strong in metamagic. Dust clouds and storms, easy. 15 minutes long meteor shower, uuh ?. As the time goes on, it will appear more and more unlikely a single mage-lord (or even few of them) could or will destroy an entire region just for them. Few days later, after numerous replica, and a completely ruined city, a piece of cloudless sky will reveal the truth: two distinct stars in a giant shell of ejected gas. Angry mob will then assault the mage-lord mansion to kill him.

This is a quite psychologic adventure. Players will be gradually stripped from their power (all the magical weapons and tools which behave eratically), from their mission (this treator issue was nothing but thin air), from their confort (everything is destroyed around them, lot of dead friends/collegues) and finally from their loyalty or their live (without magic and greatly overnumbered, their only chance is to abandon their master ; it will be an individual decision and I don't know who (if any) will choose to do that).

I want them to FEEL how the sundering destroyed everything of the former world.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Alliance mage Lords
« Last post by Drul Morbok on January 03, 2019, 07:08:23 AM »
Yeah, great campaign idea, also looking forward to any reports how it went.

Just out of interest: Your players are aware of the fact that the adventure predates the sundering...?
From how I understand it, they know enough that this would be pretty obvious from looking at the sky...

Edit: Sorry, I failed to read that you want your players to assume to live in the "present", i.e. the end of the timeline.
And while I'm aware of the fact that in a pen&paper game, players don't "look at the sky" as naturally as in the real world (or in a modern video game), I don't think it's easy to be consistent about sky-related wordings...
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Alliance mage Lords
« Last post by David Roomes on January 02, 2019, 07:19:26 PM »
Sounds great! Very cinematic. And that makes for great adventure. :)  Looking forward to hearing more about the campaign as it goes.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Alliance mage Lords
« Last post by Delbareth on December 31, 2018, 02:57:32 AM »
Thanks for your answer.
Obviously I can always adapt the Khoras Canon, but I prefer to stay in it (or argue to change it if I have arguements).
I even think it's better to imagine a worldwide known Focusing, as every one on Khoras known WHO is responsible of this disaster. It's easier to explain the Mage Lord hunting, and it's a better "humility lesson" from gods. Nevertheless, it does not mean tat every commoner, even in Aden, know exactly how it works and what is the Focusing schedule. But I guess everyone there know the final goal of the Mages.

My players are not used to read the website. I did not forbid them nor encourage them to read it, but they know that it would somewhat "kill the mystery". They know what their character knows and that's fine. However, it seems to me that one of them did read some part of the website. Anyway, they all know the principle of the Sundering, the Alliance Mage Lords and the Thullian Empire.

I think I will be obliged to use some tricks :
- replace names with former names : the Thullian Empire and Traxx Legion will be called the Miratz Empire and Kingdom of Gekron.
- present a different type of Focusing spell : something to change the magic in the Empire (why not a magical protection for the whole empire, a way to change the magical field, etc...)
- place the event in a neutral period (and say it clear) to avoid questions about Drellis
I have already presented them they will play on a different continent (hey, Ithria was very different at this time, wasn't it ?), with an organisation of very potent arch-mages. I guess they imagine playing on a fourth continent (we have already played on Queshi and Agraddar), kept secret because quite far or different. So a very powerful mage organisation in 2700 C.C on a remote continent is a reasonnable assumption for them.  ;D
The adventure will take place partially in the Assembly Hall, but is not focused on the spell itself, so I guess the trick will work. As soon as they will understand what is happening, I will reveal the truth.

I will change some things on the Focusing/Sundering events, and I have arguments for it.
It is usually admit the magic does not travel very well through matter. Tens ot hundreds of meters of matter are enough to stop most spells. Even if Alliance Mage Lords were able to enhance the spell penetration through matter, it is impossible to be enough to reach the inner layer of a star (thousand of time the "thickness" of a whole planet). So I prefer to imagine they send the magical energy with an interdimensionnal portal directly inside Drellikar, rather than letting the magical energy travelling through space and drilling through the star.
When the Sundering begun, a portal was open to send magical energy (to try to reverse what appeared to be an immense mistake). A tiny part of the huge sundering energy overcame the portal protection, and Drellikar energy came directly on Khoras surface, wiping out the Aden entire region. Only 8-9 minutes later came the brillant flash and so on.
As the players came back to Tosche, via a small scale portal, they are safe from the Aden events. But the energy also goes through this second portal to make the mage tower explode. Few minutes later, the shock wave of the Aden region reach Tosch and make violent earthquakes. Then come the flash which severly burn every square meter exposed to the direct light. Magic is gone, giant dust storms, eartquakes again, burning rocks falling from the sky (from Aden)... Exciting program !  ;D
I will post a description of the sundering events after the game.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Alliance mage Lords
« Last post by David Roomes on December 30, 2018, 03:04:23 PM »
Well, feel free to adjust for your campaign. You could make it so that the Thullian Empire and the Alliance worked very hard to keep it under wraps. You could even make it a "Cold War" kind of thing. Secret meetings, spies from other nations smuggling secrets about the project out and so forth. Or maybe the Alliance was working on it secretly and even the Empire was not entirely informed on the scope of their project. After all, what they were trying to achieve stains belief.

The "large and elaborate ceremony" might have been limited to nobles. Perhaps two dozen people in the entire kingdom might be privy to certain things. For the rest of the kingdom, it's just rumor and gossip, most of which is wrong or exaggerated.

The varying number of Mage Lords refers to the number of Mage Lords who were living in the Assembly Hall. Not all Mage Lords were working on the Sundering project. Most were, but there were some working on other projects or being given assignments that required travel, etc. So, the exact number varied. Also, the servants, slaves, laborers, apprentices and craftsmen would not be directly involved in the project and their knowledge of it would be, again, very limited, not much more than rumor and gossip.

Are your players familiar with the Khoras site? If they have delved deep into the site, then yes, trying to surprise them might be difficult. You'd have to change the names of organizations and people and such. But I think it's doable.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Alliance mage Lords
« Last post by Delbareth on December 28, 2018, 03:46:21 PM »
3. The general population knew very little about what was going on in North Aden. The commoners knew that a powerful and secretive order of wizards was working in a great castle and there were tavern talk and rumors and gossip, but nothing solid. Very few people, mostly kings and arch wizards and heads of powerful organizations, knew that the Alliance was working on a vast and powerful project of sorcery. Even few knew exactly what it was.
It was fine for me, until I re-read some pages and found some things I missed last time :
  • On the Focusing page, we can find : "In the autumn of 451 TIC, in a large and elaborate ceremony held in the Emperorís court, Alrem proposed his radical ideas for a second time. This time to the Alliance and the world : Alrem proposed that the greatest wizards of the Alliance unite their strength in concert for a single extra planetary spell."

    and also "During this time, word had spread far and wide about the empire's grand scheme to command the very sun. The Traxx Legion did not believe that a spell of such magnitude was possible and, for the most part, did not concern themselves with the Focusing. The Irenni League, however, after sending ambassadors to the empire, studied what little information the Alliance was revealing about the Focusing."
  • On the Assembly Hall page, there is: "The Assembly Hall was home to about 250 Mage Lords at the time of the Sundering, although the exact number varied from week to week during the years leading up to the Sundering. In addition, a population of almost 600 servants, slaves, laborers, apprentices, craftsmen and nobles served the Mage Lords."

It just appear impossible that the goal of the Focusing and the Assembly Hall were secret. It's not a good news for me, since I need to find a way to avoid my player realize when their characters are living  :-[
Gaming Tales / Re: Christmas session experiment
« Last post by Drul Morbok on December 24, 2018, 07:05:32 AM »
Yeah, I do remember you mentioning the idea of the characters waking up naked in a cocoon on an alien spaceship or something alike, the players having empty character sheets. I liked the idea very much and wanted to do something similar.

Another inspiration was the computer game "Planescape Torment", especially the idea of the protagonist being immortal and waking up in the mortuary initially and after each player "death", the latter one being another aspect I could use when I play a campaign in my setting.

I hope I won't be too lazy for a summary afterwards...anyway I came up with another twist I want to play for long - ingame time lapse.
The commander will decide that from now on, 4 generals will be enough, so the 3 players and the remaining NPC generals will have to fight until 4 remain. I might have to fine-tune the numbers and think about whether the assassin will remain a general or become a puppet master in the background.
In any case, it will become some kind of macabre game of rats in a barrel, that either starve to death or feast upon each other (I imagine that the lich general, who was killed by the assassin, is responsible for the resurrection process, so for now, dead means dead).
And the " free phases" might be used to "fast-forward the story 5 years". Quite obviously, the reduction in number of generals will create a power vacuum in the game world, and the players can imagine how their characters will fill it over the years.
Gaming Tales / Re: Christmas session experiment
« Last post by David Roomes on December 23, 2018, 05:26:09 PM »
Sounds like a fun adventure. I like the premise. I like your description of the Mercenary Fortress, the commander and the general setup. Having them doubt their own memories and knowledge is a nice twist. I think your players will have a great time.

I have also toyed with the idea of an adventure that starts out with the players waking up with no memories or knowledge of who they are. Of course, in my adventure, they are immediately thrown into a dangerous situation and are unsure of their own abilities and so forth and are forced to work together to survive.

Gaming Tales / Christmas session experiment
« Last post by Drul Morbok on December 22, 2018, 08:27:44 AM »
Hi, I just wanted to share an idea for an adventure I might be running these days - it mainly consists of two aspects:

First of all, the session starts with the characters knowing nothing about themselves - from what they can tell during the first hour or so, they just got magically resurrected from death, in a facility where such tasks are performed quite often. They will be told that loss of memory, or illusionary memories, are a common condition after resurrection, but that they will soon be remembering it all, I.e. them being three out of eight generals of The Mercenary Fortress, the worldwide center of power and authority.
Top elite stuff, but without memory and with reduced access to abilities. And they died on a failed mission.

The second aspect is dividing the playing day into "system phases" of at most one hour, where players will be sitting around a table and mostly roll dice according to the D&D system, and "free phases" where everyone can either do out-of-game stuff like shopping, going for a walk, cooking, doing online stuff - or or engage in free roleplaying not tied to any system.

The second component is important, as the "amnesia twist" leads to lots of doubt, intrigue and so on:
For example the question will rise if they really got resurrected, or if they got brainwashed and tricked into believing this. Also the eight generals are constantly scheming against each other and following their own agenda. So the players will have to decide whom they trust (or mistrust least) - there is no "right" decision within the setting.

In short, here is what I hope to gain from such a setting:
- Eliminating the impact of the real world of the players: If the characters talk about atoms and molecules, or about feminism, or about burgers and tacos...well, it's just their "memories from afterlife" and it doesn't matter if such things do exist or are plausible within the game world.
- Similarly, eliminating "knowledge spoilers"... If players find a dead body with a hole in the empty head, and ask things like "does my character know of mind flayers?", I could even give them the monster manual and say " If you want to, that's what you think you remember, but it might be false memories ".
- Steering character knowledge by having them "remember" something, eliminating the "wouldn't the character have known this from the beginning?" question.
- Moral issues. The Mercenary Fortress is definitively no "good-aligned" organization, and the generals the characters are playing where rather unscrupulous and callous in their "former lives". Will the characters at some point question their orders, or will they cast aside all moral quarrels as temporary side effect of resurrection amnesia?

Maybe it would be helpful to give an example of how the adventure might run:
The game start at the resurrection site, which is not within the Mercenary Fortress. After being told what they need to now, they are sent back to the fortress on their own on a dangerous path, leading to some d&d combat scenes. They will also be ambushed by an other general, but after defending well enough, the general will casually stop attacking and jovially state that this time, they sure got back strong. He will claim that it is quite normal and even accepted to attack the newly resurrected - should they be killed, it is only because the resurrection left them weak, so it will be like better luck next time. In fact, generals are fighting each other regularly and they are all about manipulating, blackmailing and tricking, but the stability of the system relies on them not actually killing each other - well at least that's what the attacking general is claiming.

At the Mercenary Fortress, they will learn that the Mercenary Fortress is led by a commander and the eight generals are directly subordinates to him, and that he is calling them together for a mission briefing.
It will turn out that the commander is a priest of Tiamat, and is wielding an extremely powerful black scythe, an artefact of his Deity... or a least used to, as he will open the meeting by stating that Tiamat is testing him by taking away the power of the scythe, and having him prove his worth as commander on his own.
So he is openly asking "now answer me: Who is your commander?".
After some talk, one general claims that he is not willing to follow a weakened leader and charges the commander - who still seems able to slay him easily by grappling him.with one outstretched hand and make the attacker's body pulsate with his heartbeat that gets more and more intense, until with a final beat fountains of blood are squirting from his nose, eyes, ears and so on, instantly killing him.
Another general will claim that such cheap blood magic will not work on him (he might be a lich), and will also attack, but be hit by some arrow that first liquifies and than evaporates his body. Behind the commander, there is a black cloak of vaguely human shape, and without turning, the commander smiles a funless smile and states "oh well, I never thought I might be thankful for knowing an assassin behind me".
The cloak speaks in a deep voice "Nothing is too dead to be killed by an assassin. As to your question, I wanted to mention that I hereby renew my vow of loyalty, oh my commander. Who is against you, is against us".

The commander will conclude that he considers his question fully answers, and if no one else is still doubting (he is looking around, but everyone seems to agree), he will now be telling them the mission.

After that here would be the " free phase ".
The commander's mission is open about how to achieve it. The players can walk through the Fortress, search for equipment, allies, intrigue, and so on.
They can try to form an alliance against the commander and the assassin, or they can defend them against others who might. They might like the commander but fear that right now he is owing the assassin a favor, thereby endangering the balance of power among the generals.
Or they might just care about their mission...about which I might soon be writing more, but right now all that matters is that the mission will include lots of d&d dice rolling again. It will also be influenced by some decision the players can make in the free phase.

I hope my intension is clear - otherwise feel free to ask.
I think I will be writing more on it soon.
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