Quick Adventure Challenge – May 14

So I have honestly missed doing these so for tonight’s “what ever” Saturday I wanted to have another go. So as per the other challenges for the sake of tonight I will enforce the below constraints:

  • 30 minute time limit
  • 1 protagonist
  • 1 location
  • 1 enemy/antagonist
  • “randomly generated pot” (tonight we have two words being provided by readers of the blog!!)
  • Grammar and spelling (ONLY!) can be fixed outside of the 30 minutes if required.

So let’s kick off.


Words

Consumption, Deposit

PROTAGONIST

Pride, a Tiefling has been put in charge of the vaults wealth and she has hired the party as protection as people have suddenly become aware that she is the holder of the promised gold and she has had two attempts on her life so far – one left her right hand disformed and damaged – which is taking some time to heal.

SECONDARY CHARACTER

Graff Felonbore – a well spoken, charming but ruthless noble born is behind the attacks on Pride, but furthermore is behind more than just that.

Location

Lakapucha, a many tiered city with great tall (and deep) towers that aim to bridge the gap between the deities of both good and evil so the ruling Priests of the city can better commune with those who bless them.

PLOT

A disease that affects that causes the infected to stop breathing, see visions before dying a bloody death (as their lungs appear to be coughed up and out) has caused denizens of Lakapucha, a city that is famous for its devout and religious beliefs (to the point of being zealous). A large sum of gold has been deposited in the cities vaults for someone who can procure the cure for this disease as all magical and known measures at the moment have failed.


Consumption – both to ingest something (generally with a negative connotation) but also another name for a lung disease (from earths history) is used as the focal point in this adventure

The disease known as “Gods fever” is running rampart. It struck those in the clergy of the ruling sects (in which there are many of them) and has also begun to appear in the general populace of the city. Those who are afflicted claim to see visions of a a winged figure looking down at them from a ring of light, the experience leaves them weak, tired and weary but they all believe one thing – that they have been chosen to be the next prophet of a new deity – one that has been born fresh unto this world and who has taken an interest in the lives of mortals in Lakapucha – a most holy of city.

However, as there is always a however in these times, they never recover from the experience – they grow weaker, they soon lose their ability to talk and thus preach the good tidings of their new deity (who goes by a dozen names depending on who sees them) as their breathing becomes laboured – no amount of food can sate them and only expensive liquor sold at a few stores seems to offer any relief.

Most of the first infected die within two months and after the first deaths in the temple sects, taking down several high profile priests and clerics, the governing chapter of clerics scraped together their knowledge of medicine, religion and alchemy (from those inclined to the arcane as well as divine) and they believe that the visitations of the deity spells death – a disease given to those who are perhaps too close to their gods as a vindictive punishment from this new deity.

What is not known is that the hallucinations is a poison, created and given to those who Graff Felonbore deem unfit to rule, which is all those who claim control over the city based on religion, and when mixed with other reagents it creates a sickness in the lungs that withers and sickens the infected until they die from affixation as their lungs rot and are coughed up.

Graff has organised the attacks on Pride as a way of trying to steal the riches so there is no way for the Chapter, the religious rulers of the city, to tempt those to create or look into the cure. However, in his haste he has begun to hire mercenaries to do his bidding, distributing the poisons which caused the first local population infection – which has seen the poison contamination spread in such a closely packed community.

As an attempt to coverup he bought the mercenaries silence and began to look for new recruits, new faces to the city, to do his bidding and be scape goats.

Graff mistakes the party as fresh faces, not hired by the Chapter to look after Pride, and invites them to dinner – explaining how he is looking for like minded people to help him correct mistakes of the city and bring about a new dawn of prosperity for Lakapucha.

Graff then leaves the party to think about the deal – however, as the party leave they see him talking to one of his henchmen and the conversation appears to be discussing the party members – a look of rage and violence crosses his face (insight check DC13 can determine that he realised that he was speaking to the wrong people).

Graff then sends mercenaries after the party to silence them, first bribing with gold with the promise to leave the city and forget about what was said, then with violence if the bribe is refused – he only uses mercenaries who are expendable and is well like enough in the community that most people wont believe the party if they point the finger of blame at him.

As the party are dealing with the bribe-gone-wrong, a joyous looking Pride bursts through the door announcing that they have found someone who can cure the illness – a man named Jed. One of the mercenaries hears this, jumps through a nearby window (into or out of a building – DMs discretion) and runs for it. The party are left then to explain to Pride the situation and now they need to both protect Pride and Jed as well as prove Graff’s guilt.

If the party can do this they are given a building, a small manor house, where they will find a house keep willing to serve them when they are in town. They will be named as citizens of Lakapucha and will also be offered a seat at the table of the Chapter when they meet if they desire such a seat.


The end goal here is simple – the party can by any means try and prove that Graff is the cause of the illness – or they can silence him in the manner they see fit – however the latter will have more dire consequences.

Graff has left a trail of paperwork in his manor house, that his servant – Prue, will be able to direct the party to if asked nicely – and promised safe passage.


Time commenced: 09:00pm

Time completed: 09:30pm

Notes,…

Well tonight it didn’t flow as well as it did the week before – the words threw me for a few minutes and it took a bit to work out how to use Consumption (the old name for Tuberculosis) and Deposit in a D&D adventure without going super medical. I had a bit more to wrap up at the end tonight, I think, I wanted to add a bit more in there as I am not quite satisfied on the location of the encounter with the mercanries sent to bribe, or where Graff Felonbore finds the party and mistakes them for someone else. But, it could be any inn, or a shop that Graff owns – or they could appear at his manor to ask some questions – quite a few too many “or’s” for my liking.

However, I am still happy with this – I picture Lakapucha as a religious city, a lot of people dressing humbly and the general public being well treated but “knowing their place” – the weather is warm and mildly humid, enough that thinner clothes are able to be work most of the year. The main export is, apart from religious good and services, crops that grow exceedingly well in this environment.

Let me know what you thought of this weeks 30 minute challenge – I pushed it to the edge this week, no free minutes but I seemed to write less. I will need to push my self more next time!

If you like what you read tonight let me know or better yet leave a suggestion for a future one and any restrictions (within reason) that you have in the comments below, I look forward to doing more of these in the future.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of the week write-up and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Lair

Hi all and welcome to this weeks additional content day, Thursday, where today I want to share some maps I have created just for this week.

Don’t forget if you like the maps I create here I have a few more over at my Inkarnate page where you can download and modify a copy of my originals. Let me know how you find them!


Welcome Rest, Unwelcome Guests

219ThWRUG

The quiet constant bubble of the waterfall in the background, the thick perfumed flowers bushes and trees all trees give this waterfall a peaceful yet haunting feel. The deepness of the water is deep enough towards the centre of the pool that its above the heads of all but the tallest of humanoid races.

Made with Inkarnate.com

Inside the cave, behind the waterfall is a dimly lit area – bioluminescent mushrooms providing some dim lighting throughout the cave which only reveals the source of the sour taste of the pool and the foul smell that greets the party as they enter the cave. A pile of humanoid bones leads up an incline to an elevated natural platform overlooks the dark, deep pools of water beneath.

Made with Inkarnate.com – original can be found here Dark waterfall cave

Both maps were made with the pro version of incarnate – total time spent was less than 3 hours (in between dinner and getting the kids to sleep) but regardless of time spent on these maps they were very fun to work out and I may go and do some alterations to previous maps (or even the hidden waterfall map since I worked out some tricks during the cave build.)


Thanks for joining me tonight as always and for hopefully enjoying the maps I created as much as I enjoyed creating them. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Fightnight! where the creatures are laid bare for us to scrutinize and perhaps look a bit more into their psyche as we. Don’t forget to come back this weekend for more D&D content as well as Whatever Saturday – where this week I hope to do another writing challenge – let me know if there is anything you’d like to throw my way and I will see what I can do! Don’t forget to look after yourselves and your health and, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Avoiding the rabbit hole

Hello and welcome to a Saturday night discussion piece where I want to discuss something I struggle with, complexity.

Now its not making sure things are complex enough its going too far down a rabbit hole and, like all warrens, finding that there is a second, third, fourth and even fifth rabbit hole that has rules, systems, creatures or untapped stories that you want to explore. The issue is that when you burrow into that second tunnel it adds complexity and that complexity makes it hard for both DMs and players – an issue that I am still working out how to navigate.

An example is this weeks example – how to have those afflicted by the Sliver of Shadow curse have the mechanics they do – being present on the Material plane but unable to be seen, heard or interacted with until someone strongly willed enough finally does. What I initially thought was opening up the idea of a reversal of the astral plane mechanics – their body being present and active in the material plane but peoples ability to view them in the plane being as if trying to peer beyond the veil. Now I started to re-read up on the Astral plane to refresh my memory on its mechanics and it was.. complex to say the least, at least in the terms of how I wanted to blend it to work for me.

The first issue was that I immediately started to weave the astral plane into the plot points – my floating story line which I use to keep an idea of where I want it to go without having to cement anything down that would creature massive amounts of re-work as I write this weekly. This was a big issue for me as the added complexity to something that, to be open with, doesn’t need to be any more complex that it currently is and it also started to change and influence plot. Now as I started to mentally untangle the twine that knitted together this years campaign to start adding in the astral-thread I stopped as I started to ask myself “ok, now ‘The Shadow’ – how do they link in with the Astral plane..” the answer wasn’t a mapping session it was quite simply “IT doesn’t he is between planes but takes strength from Shadowfell” – Ok maybe a bit of a spoiler there but I believe you can forgive me. This then helped me work out the curses nature – forcing people to dwell and live like The Shadow – non-existent without being seen in the light.

The second issue was making sure that the rules, the mechanics are easy enough that new dungeon masters can read and understand with minimal study. This is the other issue with going down the rabbit hole and the complexity behind it – it gets hard to memorise so that you can run the system for the other people at the table (virtual or otherwise), the players but more on them in a minute, and with the creatures, maps, core game mechanics, the more advanced mechanics let alone the multiple race-background-class combinations that your players bring that you need to factor in with adding MORE complexity into the mix means more time reading rules, notes or books and less time playing at the minimum or forgetting something crucial and slowing down the process as you move to rectify it.

The third issue is the more complex the rules I find the players, I will refer to them as an audience for this point from now on, may become disenchanted from the session. The audience are not here to try and unpick great puzzles and unravel the secrets of the world – they want to see what happens to a party of adventurers in fantastical situations where they come out ahead against all other odds, or at least a single adventurer and how they look out for number 1, themselves. The more complex, the more rabbit holes in your warren, the more unbelievable it becomes and the easier the disenchantment becomes and they lose interest in the current scene, the session or the adventure entirely (or worse – the campaign…)

The reason for the switch in focus between player and Audience is because I also have several barely started novels sitting there waiting for meat to tie together the plot points and I struggle with keeping it simple to a few key points. For me I love high, grand fantasy where the systems, the complexity and depth is mind boggling and I aspire to produce work of comparable if not equal quality to some truly fantastic Authors. This means that I automatically associate success and ‘awesomeness’ with complexity and so I tend to dive head first into that deep deep pool when I really need to start off in the shallows first and then ease into the deep end.

So for me, keeping the complexity out is to really ensure the success of the campaign, simple. But the broader picture is also a bit of self reflection where I am aware that I tend to get bogged down in the details where I really should just take a step back and start with the basics and work my way up from there – some of the most memorable books I have read only have one or two ‘complex’ concepts and really, they aren’t that complex in the first place. Its not a new language, new ‘style’ of magic, or science, or something its just a way of doing things that I need to start at and see if complexity and further depth is neeeded at a later point.

Well that’s it for tonight, come back tomorrow for more and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

To catch a Fallen Star

Tonight we will look back at the parties first encounter with the Oni a warrior race who’s goal is to enslave or eradicate the other races of Ryokughan.

So I will continue using this format which I believe is easier for me to collate material and display it – but of you find that its not the easiest way to read it please do let me know!

As with last time Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.

Now I will assume you have read the entire post (a shocking 4844 words long!) and say thanks in advance for reading this – I have expanded, added and adjusted a few things to make sure the adventure flow better.


Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe


Part 1 – Moored within the Marsh- 214MoSoR

Sailing towards the continent of Ryokughan the party start to relax with the setting of the sun as the ship sail are pulled in and several great oars are produced from portholes on the side of the ship.

As the ship moves through the marsh and the lanterns are lit across the deck of the ship one of the crew, Choi, mentioned to them.

“Don’t follow lights in this jungle. Not during the night and definitely not during the day” Choi fang mentioned as he wound up a length of rope as he finished tying up one of the sails. “There are witches and fell spirits in these marshes that would love for nothing more than the easy meal of someone who doesn’t know the rule of these lands. ”

When the question is asked, “What’s that?” Choi replies with a grin, “Don’t follow the lights.. All light casts a shadow and the smaller the light the bigger the shadow” before he walked off below deck to get a meal in before a long night of navigating through the marsh.

Meanwhile deeper in the marsh Kiri and Trip, two toad-kin who had been summoned by their large and more violent chiefs met and shared a meal. The war chief; a large, violent and terribly powerful member of their kind had received orders from The Shadow to ensure none of the crew upon the Dancing Drake survived their trip through the Marsh.


Areas and places of note

The boat – The Red Fleets Dancing Drake is where the party find themselves calling the ship home, for the time being at least.

The Marsh – The marsh is small islands of mud and root systems of the bushes and reeds that grow in this otherwise deep waterway. Those who fall overboard are treated with deep water, slippery mud banks and thick 4feet tall reeds that make traversing these waterways dangerous during the day and lethal at night.

Environment and running the adventure

The Marsh banks – If someone was to fall overboard a DC10 Dexterity check would be required to stand up safely on the river bank (or they fall prone), made with disadvantage if the person on the bank is wearing heavy armour. The islands are 5ft by 10ft on average with some longer but skinnier, and some 10ft by 10ft banks of mid and reeds sporadically spread out either side of the deep river.

The Boat – See Map

Encounter

Boat and Marsh – In this encounter lets assume that our party of 4 have all reached level 5, I think that would be fitting for being this far in the adventure-year.

This gives us 20 Toad-kin, 4 Toad-kin Chief and 1 Toad-kin War-chief.

That is a lot of critters and yes it does say deadly, but if we break it down into how these creatures fight then it will make more sense.

These creatures will send through the foot soldiers, the humble toad-kin, first before the chiefs will be riled up to fight. If the chiefs begin to falter (and they do easily not being dumb creatures and valuing their life more highly than most things) then the war-chief will wade into the thick of things to dish out discipline and intimidate through violence the lesser toads.

Once Lizbet arrives the toad-kin will stop fighting and three chiefs will arrive the War chief falls and they will use their bully ability to get toad-kin’s to fight the party (despite them not wanting to and it being very obvious that they don’t want to. The Toad-kin (not chief) will had disadvantage on attack rolls when they are fighting in this part of the fight.

Once the Chiefs die then the War-chief will appear, with a second larger chief and they will then attempt to kill the party – using their size and weight to bully the toad-kin who are reluctant into fighting.

Aftermath: Once the war chief dies a dark mist will escape from its lungs as it exhales the last time and will fly away to the north. The Toad-kin will throw down their weapons and appear joyous at the death of the chiefs, maybe not all of them but a majority will and they will attempt to communicate with the party if they can; led by Kiri and Trip.

Notable NPC interactions.

Koyko Harimasu – spends her time fighting off toad-kin as they swarm the helm – attempting to keep the little humanoids(ish) from running the ship aground.

Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder – When Lizbet appears on deck, her divine magic appears as if she was a fallen star. The Toad-kin cease fighting and drop to their knees in worship as the vision that walks before them is like a tale sung from campfires from their elders.

Siu – Siu is in a good mood, nervous and anxiety being this close to his home land in a very long time when he senses danger and Lizbet moves to go up on deck he races forward to protect her. To the Toad-kin he appears as an emissary of the ancient ones – dragons. His fangs, claws and shimmering gold scales cause lesser toads to jump overboard and those brave enough to hold fast dare not strike him

Quick Adventure Challenge – April 30

So it’s been a while since I did one of these and I wanted to try and do one again tonight. So as per the other challenges for the sake of tonight I will enforce the below constraints:

  • 30 minute time limit
  • 1 protagonist
  • 1 location
  • 1 randomly generated enemy
  • “randomly generated pot” (tonight we are using one from here: https://blog.reedsy.com/plot-generator/fantasy/)
  • Grammar and spelling (ONLY!) can be fixed outside of the 30 minutes if required.

So let’s kick off.


PROTAGONIST

A witch, who is abrasive.

SECONDARY CHARACTER

An enchantress-in-training, who is soft-hearted.

PLOT

It’s a low fantasy story about defying destiny. It kicks off in an enemy camp with someone important being kidnapped.


Ok, Cass a soft natured Enchantress who is currently studying under Arabel – a ruthless and efficient witch at the academy has been given her final assignment – Enchant one of the visiting elven dignitaries, a hard task at the best of times, and make them commit an embarrassing act that will send their reputations with the human population into turmoil.

The Academy is located in the City of Gurmish – a rough and dark city that specialises in black market goods, dark dealings and darker deals committed for the right amount of coin. It is however a completely neutral city where dignitaries can find anything and everything including “safe places” to conduct business – such as the current deal between an elven cities royalty and the local human and gnome coalition who wish to trade with the elves and establish mining rights for their advancement in technology.

However as the plan is set into motion the elf dignitary, a lesser prince, is kidnapped whilst in the city, vanishing from one of the better reputed houses of ill repute and both the human and elven governments start the search for him.

Weeks pass and Cass is unable to complete her final test – but her mistress, the witch Arabel has ordered her to locate the prince, complete the task or she will never be granted the title of Enchantress and be welcomed to the council of nine- an order of mages who preside over a school of magic with the high witch being there to break ties between the schools. Cass is next in line to take over the mantle of of high enchantress and be able to sit in the council.

BUT – Cass organised the fake kidnapping – going so far as to seek out the prince, warn him that he was in danger and being targeted and then ferried him away to safety, out of the public eye until she can work out a way to get his name off the list. The reason for this is Cass believes that this prince is actually her brother – discovering late in her life that she was half-elven from when her mother had an affair with an lower elven lord.

The Witch Arabel isn’t stupid though and wonders if Cass has the right mettle for the task – she has recruited the party to investigate the disappearance and find the prince – the reward is access to the counsel’s magic vault and the selection of one magical relic, artefact or goods from within. What the party doesn’t know is that the vault is nearly dry – a handful of items remain as the council is moments from ruin and the conflict between elves and humans was the only thing that was keeping gold in their purses.

The party would need to skirt the dangerous streets of Gurmish – bandits, thugs and worse lurk the streets and aren’t afraid to take what they see as theirs – including anything the party have. Futhermore the humans and elven councils are also looking for the missing dignitary so they will have their own men and women after the prince and his location – so there are many people in the race for information, a location and the prince!

The party would need to start their search with finding his last seen location by talking to his guards who have taken place up in a local inn for dignitaries – The Broad Boar, the guard will tell them, with sadness, that they left him to watch a dance and have some drinks and then when they returned from their own dances (which they will say they were patrolling the area) he was gone. Arabel sends the party to the guards with a token (forged) which she tells them will allow them to convince the guard, magically, that the party are guards of the city who are on official business.

The dance hall is called The Pink Lilly, a place for drinks and dances – of the adult variety. The matron will know of what happened but she wont see anyone unless something is wrong with her house of ill-repute – so the party need to make a scene, bribe their way to her, or work with one of the dancers in the venue in order to see. The Matron, Galadea (Gal-a-day-ah) is half drow, strong and quick witted and is not to be trifled with – however for the right leverage (DMs discretion) she will tell the party that the prince was seen leaving with a singled armed guard – who was not a guard at all! “Obviously an illusion, a poor one at best. You could tell that the way the cloak danced in the light that it was fake. Childs play to detect such petty magic for someone experienced such as I”. Flattery will worth with Galadea somewhat but she will play with the the party members who think that they can manipulate, charm or coerce her.

When asking about the guard people on the streets, shop owners and beggars will ask for coin, a few silver or a few gold depending on the venue. Eventually when the Party pay a homeless dwarf – who watches everything acutely (Insight check DC14 after spotting the dwarf DC13 perception) – if the party buy him a hot meal and a few mugs of ale at his favourite tavern “The Spitted Manticore” then he will tell the party (after eating and drinking for an hour) that he saw the guard and the elven prince move to a alchemical supply shop – “All that Glitters could be gold” and that she guard and prince never left. He also mentions that the same info was given to some mean spirited elves and humans – except that he said that it was a different shop – same street though – they would be getting close to uncovering the princes wheareabouts.

“All that glitters could be gold” is in the employ of Cass – she being a long lasting patron she has organised use of a hidden back room for keeping the prince hidden. However the elves and humans are also closing in on the venue and time is of the essence.

The prince is shocked to see the adventurers, as he is not in the room and is flirting with the shop assistant when they walk into the building – the party need to convince him to leave with them instead of the elves and humans – deception is best as he is a bit gullible but not overly stupid.

Cass walks in as the party are leaving and then pleads with them to her her out – casting a spell to turn them all invisible to all but each other as she walks them to a nearby house. She explains why she kidnapped the prince and asks them to not take him back to the elves and humans yet until she works out what to do with Arabel. At that time several thugs break into the room and surround the party, prince and Cass – Arabel walks in and asks the party to make a decision – help the soon to be excommunicated Cass and prince – or help her murder the prince, blame it on Cass so that she can create war with the elves.

Parties choice.


Time commenced: 5:25

Time completed: 5:53 (2 minutes spare)

Some inspiration taken from the 8 schools of magic

Well tonight it just flowed – the plot generator helped point somethings in the right direction (and I didn’t use all of it as I didn’t have time to write a whole novel!) but it was good to do this challenge again.

If you like what you read tonight let me know! Better yet if you have a suggestion for a future one let me know below and I will try and deliver the random adventure in 30 minutes based on the restrictions and requirements you give me.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of the week write-up and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

A Short soulbound adventure

Hi all, I wanted to put up a quick post to touch base on Soulbound! Yup, the TTRPG created by Cubicle 7 as I finally had a, admittedly quick, chance to have a few players run through the system with me today.

So below you will find copies of the characters I am using for the test playthrough I am running so I can get my head around the DM aspects of this RPG as, unlike D&D and other systems, the encounter balancing is an art, not a defined science.

So in order for me to try and balance encounters I came up with three characters of my own (as one of the players I had working with me today brought their own character based off Irondrakes/Thunderers from Age of Sigmar) each with a specific role in mind. Ranged, Melee, Hybrid and spell casting support.

The early verdict is that spell casting feels strong, especially the supporting magic (Shield of Thorns is very strong) and that in order to balance out encounters you need to really understand your parties output potential as I had each character utterly destroy what ever they fought against.

The melee Kharadron, Teegahn was exceptional in melee, perhaps too much so, and as a converted Endrin rigger (lost their endrin and replaced it with a Endrin-harness) they were a one person demolition crew when it comes to melee combat. The custom character modelled after a Thunderer or Irondrake, Drek, managed to kill seven Squigs in one shot, which was all the squigs in that swarm.

Both the Black Ark Corsair, Krylla, and Branchwych, Kalera, held their own, suffered some wounds but with the healing magic as well as supporting magic they were in no real danger even when a 10-man squig herd, 4 Squig Hoppers, 10 Grots (with bows) and a fungoid cave shaman attacked them they suffered maybe 17 damage in total whilst they dished out around 85 in the same amount of time.

Further playtesting should see how the same characters fair with stronger enemies, not just grots (goblins) and their pets, but more warriors and tougher foes to fight and potentially even something that I am sure they wont be able to best easily.

Thanks, that’s all I have for now! Hopefully I can convince the others to come and join me for the second half of the adventure where they may find that they are not the gods amongst mortals that they feel like they are now.

The Brazen Wolfe

Easter eggs

Hi all and welcome to a Saturday write-up where tonight I wanted to explore the concept of easter eggs. What I mean by this isnt the delectables that are left around the house, found, gorged upon then forgotten on a top shelf for 11 months I am referring to the little bits of something that pop up in an adventure only for the party to realise later their significance.

Now, the term easter egg may not be quite correct for this but tis the season so I had to give it a shot…


Now the trouble with these is they need to be significant enough that they are recognisable but not so much that they are at the forefront of the players minds.

I have historically bad attempts at trying to bring this into play and normaly the attempts that come close are where the party uncover a book, a scroll or an item with a symbol that is super relevant to the story line but ambiguous enough that when describing it to the party they dont instantly pick up on it.

For me they need a few common traits (and this is just my personal opinion and not something quoted from the internet so let’s have an open discussion in the comments if you have a different view)

I’ll use a symbol in a book that belongs to a cult that worships undead dragons as an example. Perhaps the book is explaining the finer points of gem cutting, written by a pseudo famous dwarven gem cutter to make sure that they are finely crafted and pure, even the slightest imperfection or blemish may cause them to lose value. Next to the lengthy paragraph about this gem cutting is a shorter paragraph scrawled out with a specific symbol sketched, perhaps doodled, next to it explaining the vital importance of making sure there is no flaw in the crystal lest it too frail and weak for their biggest customers.

1. Relevant. As I mentioned before it the symbol, words, phrase or what ever Macguffin is used needs to be relevant to some point of the story.

2. Vague. The above appears to be vague, the book itself may be the work of any dwarven Gem cutter but the scrawl could be a note from the previous owner to clarify the importance of the passage regarding gem cutting for larger clients.

3. Detailed. Now not to confuse with vague but it needs to be specifically worded and detailed enough that its memorable, this part is both the hardest and easiest part. Easy in the way that if you describe something detailed enough with specific components and it should be memorable. For most of us being able to write something down that flows in with the rest of the plot is easy but it gets difficult in creating the right time difference between the easter egg and the discovery of importance.

This is what I find to be the hardest in the way that you need to write something that is detailed enough, specific enough (yet vague) that it enables that Eureka moment at a point of choosing. Let’s be honest it’s unlikely that we will have the luxury of dictating the exact real world time difference between that initial discovery and when we put though the next trigger point.

In our example above the trigger point could be at the middle crest of the adventure, I believe I’ve mentioned it before that having a specific spike (twist or secondary hook) about mid way through the adventure is key to renewing vigor and hooking players further into the campaign by reserving, in this case, a journal which has engraved/embossed the symbol that accompanied the hand written paragraph explains the details around creating a lich using a focus point, the more pure the foci the stronger the connection to the body.


Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of week write-up where we check how our party is braving the marsh in search for reagents. Also I hope to put out some more hobby progress something tomorrow so whilst enjoying easter sunday feel free to check in on my amateur painting skill!

And lastly, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Open Sea’s & the Slithering Evil.

Tonight we will look back at the parties first leg of their journey to Kyoko and Siu’s home country as well as their unexpected stopover on Ophidian Island.

So I will continue using this format which I don’t know if its easier but it certainly collates the adventure a bit more for ease of reading.

As with last time Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.

Now I will assume you have read the entire post (although it is ~6700 words long..) and say thanks in advance for reading this – I have expanded, added and adjusted a few things to make sure the adventure flow better.
If you do like this format do let me know, if you don’t also let me know so I can see what I can tweak for next time. this probably was just about as much effort as writing it all from scratch the first time around but this way I think it makes sense.


Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe


Part 1&2 – Searching for Reason and Facing the truth – 209MoSfR+210MoFT

The high priestess Lizbet and Katya were introduced at last, the party shepherding them into town to ensure the safety of Katya and that they completed their quest. People lined the streets to welcome the returning hero and to bear witness to the high priestess, Lizbet, and the newcomer, Katya, radiating divine magic which radiated the warmth of a spring after a dead cold winter.

Along the rooftops Siu scampered, a little dragonoid that was covered in fur as it watched Lizbet and Katya, praying to the ancestors (of whom he was enslaved to due to his past mistakes) that his plan to convince one of both of them to come with him back to his home country would succeed. There was a growing shadow across the sea which was slowly devouring the land and people of the place he called home many-many years ago, the Harimasu families lands and the villages that were within its borders.

But as he was watching from a safe distance he noticed something dark happening and when he investigated he was attacked by a shadow stitched – a creature that was killed and which is now inhabited by a Shadow-mist creeper. Calling upon his treasured blessing – returning to his humanoid form for 24 hours, something he could use but once a decade he dashed for the temple of Chauntea to try and get the attention of the priestesses, to get their help in healing his wounds.

Successful in his ploy he was unable to treasure and use his blessing to enjoy his human form but instead found himself organising the defence of the priestesses who the creatures would be drawn to hunting down due to the amount of divine (life) energy they radiated. The plan was afterwards, if successful, he would ask for one of them (Lizbet had already had whispers spoken to her whilst she was not aware of his presence, one of his talents) to board the Red Fleets Dancing Drake, Kyoko Harimasu’s ship and sail back to his home country. If they survived that is.


Areas and places of note

The Road to Daye – The road back to Daye is long but easy. Its general downhill slope makes travel easy and the road after the ambush site, where the undead attacked, cleared out to have a sight of all potential threats for miles. Random encounters could be possible but they would be wild beasts, more undead (or fiends) but not brigands and the like would have a rough job trying to get an ambush on the party and their wagon.

Daye Streets – The streets are no more than 30ft wide, enough for a wagon or two to pass comfortably with stalls either side of the road. The buildings that line the road are one or two story predominantly with the odd three story building here and there. Currently there are people from the city lining either side of the street paying respect (silent or otherwise) to the priestess and her procession. The raw energy that comes from Katya would also put people into a shocked state as they are used to the grace and touch from Chauntea (through the temple) but not in such a potent form.
*After the battle* the streets are empty early in the mornings and talk of the creatures and nightmarish sounds from the night before are the talk of the town. Soon though merchants bring their stalls, wagons and carts out and begin to advertise their wares – it truly is a market city where the streets, particularly around the docks, are a source of just about all mundane items and objects you could seek.

The Temple– A large, 50ft x 90 ft building with a large alter and statue to Chauntea being the centre piece of the large prayer room with several rooms off to the sides and a wing for where the priests and priestesses would sleep.
*After the battle* the temple has guest quarters where the party would have been encouraged to stay to rest and heal, as well as to have close in case more creatures appeared in the middle of the night. The people who call this place home, the priests and priestesses are kind, welcoming and excellent cooks believing that Chauntea’s bountiful blessings are meant to be shared to not just he devout but all.

The Docks – Quieter than when the party first stepped upon the docks they are still busy with people from the red fleet still selling the last of their wares. Many of the large red sailed ships have left and several other trading ships have also arrived and they have brought with them not just their normal wares but a small influx of magical items. Different to the lucky trinkets and lesser magical items of the Red fleet these merchants sell potions, scrolls and other wondrous items – if the gold is plentiful enough.
The docks, however, of late have begun to start selling magical items and as the Red fleet begin to head home back across the waves to restock on goods the demand on magical trinkets and items is at a new time high with supply being short and the patience of the customers being little.

Environment and running the adventure

Day1 & Night 1.

Street – No one would dare attack the party, not with the rumour spreading of what they fought in Bracken Hollow nor the spirit they fought in the city. Furthermore the presence of the city guard, the priestess and priests of Chauntea as well as the gathering of folk from the city would make it very difficult to get the drop on them. However once the party reach the Temple of Chauntea they would leave the priestess there and head into the streets.

On the streets they may become the target of the Shadow-mist creepers or the Shadow Stitched beasts – lunging at them n shadow in small violent bursts (up to 3 creatures at once, all mixed species). As night falls a dockworker would attack them – visible seems where the shadow-stuff that holds the flesh together glowing in the moonlight as it attacks them – the intelligence maliciousness would seek to attack the one who was last closest to Katya.

After the fight is over a bell would start ringing from the temple – the urgency and oddness of the hour should be alarming to the party and someone would likely step out from a building and state the obvious (a helpful nudge for the party).

Temple – The centre room once the party get to the temple is where the priests can be found praying to Chauntea, flooding the room around the alter with daylight. Katya, Lizbet, Carline and Paul with a young man who looks to be of the Red Fleets people are currently fighting back a few creatures that attacked the party. As the party fight their way through some of the shadow stitched creatures they notice a dog grab Katya’s robe and drag her from the room, rushing through the side door and into the outside beyond. Lizbet and the others rush after them and into the night beyond.

The dog carries Katya into the streets where the party who give chase encounter more creatures to come and push back at them – Lizbet, Paul, Carline and the young man (Sui) catch up to Katya and separate her from the dog but they are quickly surrounded.

Day 2

Decision– The decision to leave would need to come from the party – Going to go see Siu at the docks wouldn’t be a hard decision (he looks just like a man after all) and Lizbet would ask the party to escort her just in case of a trap before deciding to walk off herself.

The party can tell that she is nervous, perhaps anxious about the decisions to be made and her nerves would be obvious to all (she isn’t one to hide behind a mask).

The boat– Once the party see the boat the decision needs to be made – follow the creature and Kyoko across the waves with Lizbet to help save their people or stay back and wait. Regardless of the decision initially Kyoko will ask that the party and priestess give her a week to give her time to get ready for the voyage back home. This gives the party some time to shop, if they are short of ropes/ arrows / etc. and to find out more bout where they are going from Kyoko, Siu or any of the Red Fleet.

If the party do stay behind then the adventure at the end of the month will come into affect (with the aim of still getting the party to travel across the sea)

Adventure Areas

1st night – Shadow Stitched.

As the party leave Katya if they move through a place with shadow that is too far from people (use DM discretion here) then its likely they will be attacked by the Shadow-stitched. The first attack would have one or two creatures attack but only as the party turn their back, an ambush as if carefully plotted. As one of the creatures dies the other would fall limp and the shadow-mist creeper would flee into the sky where it would dissipate (its energy spent). Examination of the body would reveal it being dead for hours and an arcana check would reveal that a dark magic (enchantment more so than necromancy but it has that tinge) held the corpse together as if possessed.

The second attack would be more feral – as if all control of their will power was gone – the astute party member would note that the creatures almost moved as if commanded or as if puppets to a greater powers will. These creatures would attack from the shadows but into the sunlight where they would flinch and a dark smoke would flow from their stitches – which glow black in the sunlight. As the creatures are killed (three, a cat, a dog and maybe a raven (use the owl block) then a dark mist would escape and bubble in the sunlight before dissipating.


The next encounter would be the temple after the bells start to ring (as the sun finally sets) – the temple would e filled with little creatures, cats, dogs, rats, birds who are in the shadows (away from the sunlight being produced by the priests) except for where Katya and Lizbet are – the creatures are braving the light to get to the princess.

1d4+1 creatures would actively block the path to Chauntea’s chosen and as the party slay the second last one then a large dog would grab a hold of Katya and quickly drag her from the safety of the temple.

In the streets every 60 feet another creature would appear, randomise what it is each time!

Once the party reach Katya and Lizbet + company they would start to get 3~5 creatures attack in waves (every 2 rounds) until an ogre wearing leathers of a dock worker (and looking like he works on the docks) steps forward to fight the party. Once the ogre falls then all of the creatures fall and the dark mist floats into the sky and disappears.

2nd day – Decisions

The aim of day 2 is to get the party to consider shopping for things using the gold they have now as well as tying up any lose ends. They should see going over on the boat a desirable prospect and the right way to progress the story moving forward.


Notable NPC interactions.

Kyoko Harimasu – Interaction with Siu and the party when his true form is revealed, which upon him showing true selflessness he is gifted a more suitable draconic form. See – Twist of fate

NPC refinement

Hi all and welcome to another night here at Brazen Wolfe Tabletop! Tonight I wanted to touch on how we can refine our important NPCs just that little bit more so that when a player asks us them a question like “Whats your family like?” we are prepared with a well thought out answer – whether or not the NPC chooses to disclose this answer is another story.

So taking a leaf out of the Soulbound core book I wanted to delve a bit more into the idea of refining those key NPCs. I wouldn’t suggest spending hours on these questions for all NPCs but maybe limiting it to a quick minute for each significant (not Key) NPC so we can look at having something prepared for for when our players do ask these questions (or similar ones).

Now instead of “What is your name?” “What is your quest?” and “What is your favourite colour” these questions are designed to prod and poke a bit further and to encourage character development.


“5” Questions

What was your childhood like?

This question really drives a few deeper thoughts, did they have present parents? A guardian? A community? No one.? Was there siblings or people they got along with? What was their social economic status like? Wealthy, poor, somewhere in between? Happy, sad, filled with fear or love or both?

This question poses a few bigger thoughts and can probably be enough to flesh out enough of a basic character that the party doesn’t spend a lot of time with.


Who do you least want to run into and why?

Old romantic interest and how did it end (if it did)? What’s their name? How did you meet? What did they do to you? What did you do to them? Where would be the most common place to meet them and why?

Establishing a connection can help drive narrative and quests or at least adventures for the party. Having a person responsible for grief, anxiety or fear means that there is a response when that person is encountered by the party which drives the story and character development.


What motivates you to do what you do?

What do you desire? What do you fear? What are you running from or towards? Why are you doing this?

This one is maybe a bit of a bigger more ambiguous question but it can help with an important question – what motivates the character to do what they are doing – plain and simple.


What do you think is overrated in this world?

A virtue? A freedom? Money? Food? What is it that they think the world could do without?

This one isn’t too difficult and I would maybe save this one for those really deep and importance characters that you just want to really develop and refine. This could help identify character flaws, their alignment (Evil-good), refine their motivations and potentially get a bigger glimpse at their personalities than what the other questions could reveal.


What can’t you live without?

A pet, item, trinket or other possession? A substance (addiction)? A person? A faith or belief? A talent or skill?

Short of the obvious (food, water, air, sunlight) this can introduce interesting little character flaws, dependencies or traits that make the character who they are. If they have an alcohol problem but believe in the guidance and forgiveness of Torm then this is also something that can be explored and used by a good DM to drive plots, stories and the Player character development by interacting with this individual.


The above questions, although maybe not as comprehensive as some that are out there like this one (The Ultimate Character Questionnaire) could be used to flesh out an important NPC or Character in general to help shape and drive their involvement in the stories you write or facilitate (as the players are the real story tellers in our games).


Thanks for joining tonight for a little refinement workshop on NPCs, I will practice the above and hopefully this week come back with a more full and refined character for our D&D campaign.

Don’t forget to come back again tomorrow to look at the midweek madness that is twists, turns and pivot night where we look at what else can shape the adventure we are working on and what can enhance the adventure we create.

And as I wish and remind you each and every night, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Soulbound – Warhammer Age of Sigmar TTRPG

Hi all and welcome to a Saturday writeup where it was triggered by a message coming through this morning. Like most Saturday mornings I was greeted by the bombardment of notifications informing me that thee was another post in the Warhammer group that I am a member of and I was greeted by a welcome surprise.

Soulbound – the TTRPG that was released by Cubical7 in conjunction with games workshop had a humblebundle where you could get 24 books, yup, 24 books for the TTRPG for the the low price of around $25au. Now my love for TTRPGs as well as my love for Warhammer merged into one low priced bundle that supports charity – how can I say no?

To be truthful I had been looking at soulbound for some time now, not that I have grown out of love with Dungeons & Dragons or OpenLegendRPG but as a way that I can explore another format, another set of rules and broaden my understanding of what’s out there while I try and work out the best system for me when I try to create a RPG system of my own – but more on that another time when I hopefully have it more fleshed out.

So the long and short of Soulbound is really you take command of a hero from one of the forces of order, death or destruction and you take your character and fight your way through Goblins, Orruks (Orcs), zombies, ghouls, Skaven (my favourite little critters) and a whole bunch of other chaos warped things to sink and axe, hammer or arrow into.

Your hero will have a set of Skills, Attributes and talents that generate more dice for the pools which you can use to achieve actions by meeting a difficulty number (DN) and generating the required number of successes based on the requirement the GM put on the check.

In Dungeons & Dragons and many other d20 systems you have a few dice, modifiers or items that enable you to meet and beet a Difficulty Class (DC) which determines the success or fail of the action. With Soulbound you have a pool of dice that you would roll to try and beat the difficulty number with each dice. So each dice you roll has the potential to cause you to succeed and what’s more – its only a d6 (not a d20) so if you needed to roll a 4 (DN4:1) and the check, to jump a fence or barricade for example, required you roll succeed only once. Then if you roll a 3 dice on average you should be fine. This style of mechanics means the more dice you roll the more likely you are to succeed and I do have a fondness for rolling lots of dice.

Now I have only spent a hour or so skimming over the character creation guide (from the core rulebook) but the concept is looking at adding your base ability (Body- Physical prowess, Mind-mental aptitude, and Soul-Spiritual presence.. I guess) to the skills you are trained in to establish what your Melee, Accuracy (Ranged) and Defence rating is from Poor to Exceptional. The higher number your skills and attributes the higher quality your rating is and the higher rung in “The ladder” you are in.

This Ladder is used primarily to determine the difference in quality between the attackers skill and the defenders defence. This determines the Difficulty number on the attack roll to deal damage to try and defeat your opponent. This is a bit complex but once the maths is over then the system is quite.. simple from what it looks like.

I will look at this a bit more over the coming week and hopefully I may try and have a Soulbound Saturday where I post some Soulbound content where I play the game with my fellow warhammer players – well that’s the idea.

While the bundle is cheap on Humble-bundle I would suggest going to have a look at it and see if its something for you. Saving (I think) a bit over 90% of the total cost of the books that are in the bundle for this amount of content is pretty incredible.

Don’t forget tomorrow is the final writeup for the week where we take the party into the temple and confront a bunch of snakes, and their abyssal lord.

Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe