Author Topic: Adventure Development: In the Shadows  (Read 1223 times)

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Adventure Development: In the Shadows
« on: October 13, 2008, 08:28:59 AM »
In the Shadows
An Adventure by Otto R. Ringus & yellowdingo 2008
A basic Adventure LAYOUT.
Part 1: Urban Adventure - While Gathering intelligence The PCs must restore law and order in the community. Arriving early, they may be called on to save the life of a villager from being burned alive or simply prosecute his murderers.
Part 2: The Natural Caves - Down the Sinkhole is the long and dangerous swim underwater to the cave at thebottom of the Keep's well.
Alternatively the Fissure in the Quarry wall can be expanded to allow access to the long way in through Caves occupied by Cavehunters.
Part 2.5: A Dragon blocking the Way - The Doddering Ancient Green Dragon is hold up in the Well room of the Keep.
Part 3: The Keep - Stricken with Traps and Temporal Anomoly (Thus explaining the Dinosaurs in some of the Rooms) the PCs must explore without Perishing or being lost through a Gate into a Dinosaur populated past. Though time is of the Essence, the PCs can discover an assortment of secrets through the Keep.
Part 4: The Siege - The Village and Keep is raided by an army of Kobolds on the Second Evening. The PCs had a single day time limit (Time must be accounted for during exploration of the Caves and Keep). The Kobolds attack at Twilight. If the PCs have failed to access the War Room and Gate Control they will not see the Army of Kobolds approaching through the Woods and will not be able to release the Villagers from their Curse (The Brand that ensures no villager can enter the Keep nor leave the Village area).
QUARSTONBAILY: A Community in the Shadows
Located beyond the Walls of the Keep is the Community of Quarstonbaily.
Population 50+10% children
Export (Quarry Stone)
The Quarry is 20 workers producing 3040 tons of stone per year for export - they sell it to merchants in the absence of any leadership from the keep.
Annual Quarry Income (2128sp)
What they Know:
1. They have lost all contact with the Baron and his minions within the Keep.
2. They are all branded with some curse that prevents entry into the Keep or Departure from the Village.
3. Merchants make their way here once a month to buy Good Stone and sell grain - something they cannot produce thanks to the cursed brand.
4. If anyone askes about caves, There is a Sinkhole in the wood behind the Keep and a fissure in the Quarry.
Heightening the Tension from the Beginning
You emerge from the tree obscured road to the view of a keep of almost seamless shadows and dark beauty. The towering keep of Cloudspear looms over the community of Quarstonbaily only partly obscured by the black and choking smoke of a fire around which numerous people have gathered. You can hear someone screaming over the raised voices of the gathered mob.
By the look of it, the locals are burning someone at the stake.
You can smell the residual aroma of cooked meat and wood smoke. It seems to have blanketed the entire region. Through the tree-line you can see what appears to be a huge black Monolith looming over smaller buildings of far less significance. Is that Cloudspear Keep? It is unlike any Keep you have seen. Seamless, Curved, windowless.
There are Holy Symbols nailed to Doors and over windows. The Villagers are really concerned about the Vampire hold up in the Keep, They have just got done burning one of their own Villagers at the Stake (unless the PCs Rescue the Victim) on unfounded allegations of Working with the Vampire.
So the villagers have found a corpse drained and desicated in a Villager's hut leaning against the outer wall: So the PCs will be presented with a single piece of evidence as to what is in the Keep -
•   Some kind of Vampire sucked old Mr Deskar dry.
•   His hut is right up by the outer wall.
•   His Corpse was sucked dry.
•   There is a Vampire in the Keep.
Village of Quarstonbaily

The Quarstonbaily Sinkhole
7. Penetrating the Caves offers (currently two ways in) down the Sinkhole that serves as village well, a Long swim underwater through a dark cave network or (should they choose the fissure in the Quarry?) a descent through natural caves and a swim underwater through flooded caves (although shorter).
node |y-pos |x-pos |adjoining |extras
1 |-130 |-165 |Surface, 2 |-
2 |-85 |-170 |1, 3 |-
3 |-100 |-155 |2, 4 |Partially flooded
4 |-115 |-70 |3, 5, 15 |flooded
5 |-60 |-175 |4, 6 |-
6 |-115 |-175 |5, 7, 8|-
7 |-95 |-230 |6 |-
8 |-130 |-130 |6, 9 |-
9 |-50 |-100 |8, 10 |-
10 |-90 |+55 |9, 11, 13|-
11 |-135 |-195 |10, 12 |-
12 |-65 |-210 |11 |-
13 |-135 |-85 |10, 14 |-
14 |-55 |-45 |13 |-
15 |-100 |0 |Well room, 4 |Partially flooded
What have we got? A Descent through caves to a partially flooded cave (3). This is then an underwater swim through a fully flooded cave (4) to the Cave at the bottom of Cloudspear Keep's Well (15). The rest of the Cave network is isolated down a branch in the flooded cave(4).
Node 15: the cave at the bottom of the Keep's well - our connection into the castle - a vertical climb up a well shaft of fifty feet. Because this is a natural cave - our well room is not the end of the network rather part of it.
Just so we know there is a problem with the Castle, the well shaft can be climbed without a rope because there are upturned skulls for footholds embeded in the brick face of the shaft. They will support a small creature making the climb (although a few will crumble under foot providing some risk). To see/access the shaft the PCs must wade out into the waterpool.
Treasure in the Caves
Someone was attempting entry into the Keep. They were killed by the Wizardflail (cave hunters). One of the Cave hunters has a Ring of Swimming in its stomach.
The Lower Levels
17|17.5|9.5-(Exit/Entry, 3, 7,13)
18|22|16-(2, 13,14)
21|18.5|22.5-(1, 5, 9)
22|2.5|5.5-(2, 8, 13)
23|4|36-(7, 12, 13)
24|24|24-(6, 11, 13)
27|33.5|31.5-(4, 8, 9, 10)
28|35.5|24-(2, 3, 7, 8)
Functioning as a concealed pit in the Wizardflail lair, this sinkhole descends into the lower levels making it even more difficult for PCs to make their way back to the surface.
Something Special for the natural Caves
Pre-empting the Whole decision making process, the Natural Caves have something unheard of using the Pathfinder Manual.
Cavehunter (Wizardflail)
Type: Small Animal
HD: 3d8
HP: 20
AC: 14
CR: 2
No Appearing: Lone Hunter(1), Pod(2-5), Spawning Lair(2-20)
Grapple/Strangle (1d3)
Bite (1d4)
STR(6), Dex(12), Con(8), Int(1)
Special Abilities:
Hunts by Sound vibration R=60', Detect Warmth (as primitive Darkvision) R=10'.
This Animal functions as a 4' tall warm blooded Amoeba with a Basic Stump and three Tentacles (at the centre of the tentacles cluster is a small beak with which it bites). It is refered to as a Wizard Flail because of its agressive assaults on Wizards using Spells with a Verbal component.
Recent History
The Keep recently went quiet and the local lord, and staff were no longer heard from. They realize that there is some sort of problem but the keep was for them impregnable (everyone in the Village of Quarstonbaily carries a magical brand that prevents them from leaving the village area or entering the castle).
Description of Cloudspear Keep and Village of Quarstonbaily
The keep sits at the top of a cliff overlooking the village of Quarstonbaily. The village itself backs against a sheer quarried face and is populated by poor folk who get by cutting and exporting stone.
Map of the Castle
A large 140' high tower and four 80' high small towers at its 90 degree spokes. with a 20' high outer wall linking the smaller towers and similar walls linking each small tower to the central large tower.
The Outer Towers are linked to the maintower by spars that reach from the Central tower some fourty feet up.
Level: A
West Tower.................1/Gatehouse & Cells
S.W. Yard..................2/Inner Bailey
South Tower................3/Stable
S.E. Yard..................4/Horse Exercise Yard
East Tower.................5/Wellroom
N.E. Yard..................6/Vegetable Garden
North Tower................7/Sorceress's Residence(Bedroom)
N.W. Yard..................8/Private Garden
Central Tower..............9/Barracks
Level: B
West Tower.................10/Gate control
South Tower................11/stores (Fodder)
East Tower.................12/kitchen
North Tower................13/Sorceress's Residence(Lounge)
Central Tower..............14/great hall
Level: C
West Tower.................15/Priest's Quarters
South Tower................16/Guest Quarters
East Tower.................17/Kitchen meatstore
North Tower................18/Research Laboratory
Central Tower..............19/Chapel
Level: D
West Tower.................20/Guest Quarters
South Tower................21/Guest Quarters
East Tower.................22/Wine Racks
North Tower................23/Laboratory
Central Tower..............24/Informal Hall & Library
Level: E
Central Tower..............25/Martial Training hall
Level: F
Central Tower..............26/Lord Jarvo's Bedchamber & residence
Level: G
Central Tower..............27/Camera Obscurer & War-room
CHOLORENE: (Doddering ancient green dragon)? What is the relationsip between CHLORENE and the Kobolds - are they her/his dragonkin offspring?

The Baron and his Minions all died of old Age over night due to exposure to a temporal artefact being built as a weapon of mass destruction. The Green Dragon meerly got old and doddering.
So an accident unleashes some artefact temporal weapon immediatly aging everyone two thousand years:

•   what would we want with the fall out through the Keep?
•   Zones where you can be lost into the distant past?
•   Others where you age a year every time you pass through a location?
•   The Artefact should be un-usable by the PCs?
Was hoping to let the PCs access a global conspiracy that begins here (rather than something that will wipe out the globe).
Would they be able to use it though? If the Artefact went off accidentally, in the Keep - They were planning something greater - an attack on "peace talks" between a couple of Kings or something - effectively taking out the leadership in attendance. If they can Harness its power - should it be like all artefacts? Should it come with Handicaps (ten percent chance it goes off accidentally on a full moon/user ages a year every time it is used sucessfuly) or should it be a one off device that is now expended?
The idea was that the Artefact somehow failed to function correctly...the fallout was limited to the radius of Cloudspear Keep and the Village huts leaning against the outer wall.
The Occasional Temporal Vortex
If there are temporal warps in the keep, and some link reality to the past any thoughts on "Dinosaur" versions of regular D&D Monsters.
•   The origin of the Shrieker and the Violet Fungus is an agressive plant that screams and has grapple fronds.
•   The Origin of the Kobold is a 2' tall snapdragon


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Re: Adventure Development: In the Shadows
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 06:03:58 AM »

You know. I was going to do something like "Copypasta is incomprehensible" and then repost your post, adding those crazy "paragraph breaks" all the kids are talking about these days, then I read your last paragraph and my snarkiness dried up in the glow of your awesome.

Well done.

If you ARE actually looking for feedback and are not (as I suspect) a cleverly disguised troll, I would suggest the following:

  • Add paragraph breaks. I know it comes out of Microsoft Word (or notepad...) looking like that, but you're trying to get people to read your words. You have to make it not cause spontaneous eye-bleeding or they will (at best) skim it.
  • Spell-check your document. I know adding this to the list will NECESSITATE someone finding an error in this post. I don't care, it's important EVEN IF I'm a complete moron and you make everyone laugh at me.
  • Add a header. All you need is a paragraph at the front of your text clearly explaining what it is, what it's for, and what kind of feedback you're interested in.

I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors.

Alas I cannot help you, as I could not bring myself to read the rest of your post.

TLDR: Formatting is important. Ignoring it can make your audience ignore you.


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Re: Adventure Development: In the Shadows
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 04:19:35 PM »
I think there's some serious potential for a great game here. So let's take it one step at a time.

Tell me more about the "burning at the stake" scene. Let's not assume that the players will automatically jump in to save the person being put to death.

Is the person being executed guilty?
Is this a just execution, where the executors have the the authority?
If not, will it be obvious that it's a mob executing an innocent person?

If the answers are "no, no and yes", then that would probably set the motivations for the players - assuming the PCs are good-aligned.

If the answers are different, then the player motivation is more murky. If they don't save the person, what happens next?

« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 04:21:14 PM by MilwaukeeJoe »