Into the Lair of the Lómipilu

Welcome to another end of week writeup where this week we follow our players as they enter Into the Lair of the Lómipilu.

As always portraits are created in Artbreeder and the normal wonderful tools like Kobold-fight-Club and D&D Beyond are used frequently.


How to Catch a shadow

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Darkness was the first sensation that the party felt when they walked through the portal that had literally ripped open. The bright light from the room that they came from seemed to force the portal open but even then the tendrils of darkness were trying to knit the wound closed. As they stepped in colour seemed to fade as well where only things immediately in front of their face held the slightest trace of what it used to be. The further they looked ahead the more coloured seemed to disappear until just ten feet way their vision failed. Even those with darkvision struggled to see in a place devoid of all light.

Lighting torches didn’t do much and only brought back the smallest flicker of colour and light in this world and even the warmth from the fire was taken away before it could push back the numbing feeling from their fingers.

“You must be very brave or very dumb to come into my lair. Your corpses will entertain my pets for days to come and your bones will be sewn into my walls” a voice mocked from behind them. Whirling around there was nothing there but the burst of light that was suddenly too bright. Turning around the party started to stride into the dark. The pocket of shadow was oppressive and the flickering light of the torch failed to push past fifteen feet and what it did touch summoned phantoms of nightmares from their darkest dreams.

“Run!” a voice said from somewhere in the dark. “Run from here!” the same voice called out. “Tell Takeo that the shadow gathers at obsidian peak!” a shriek of pain followed the warning and then silence.

Looking amongst each other the party pushed back fear as shapes in the murky shadow twisted into forms and voices from their past and present spoke to them from just outside the torchlight.

238TuThLo

The creature stalked the maze like halls that it had constructed with but a thought the moment it created a rift to its lair. Melding and knitting shadow and reality together to create something of its own was childs play and these foolish mortals were stepping into a realm that they had no hope of contending with the power it had here.

But as the light flooded from the previous room and the tendrils of shadow struggled to knit the opening back together the Lómipilu felt a trickle of fear for the first time in centuries. Soon the creatures moved into the dark interior of the dimension it had created, a little pocket of shadow and the Lómipilu’s fear quickly began to disappear. Soon a plan began to form in the mind of the creature as he released its hands from the old man and summoned forth dense shackles that bound his mouth and limbs so he could not speak or move.

Stalking one of the many halls the creature climbed higher into the dimension it had created and watched a the party one by one drifted further apart from each other as the dimension they found themselves in constantly folded out before them forcing them to loop around until they were back in the starting room that they entered. The creature smiled and watched the creatures looked baffled at what had happened. In fact the creature was so amused by the wonderment of the adventurers that it giggled. It knew these halls better than any and that the only path forward as the least obvious, all others led to confusion and death.

The creature lay on its stomach and watched the adventurers move around and start discussing their predicament – each one of them not aware that those they were talking to were not what they seemed to be.

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As the party member move around the corner they find a familiar set of faces looking back at them. “What happened to you? Where did you go? You were with us a second ago and then you disappeared and we heard noises from behind us…” the look on the party members in front turned to concern and fear. “There is something behind you…”

Turning around the party turned to see shadowy blurred faces that looked very much like the party members who stood behind them. They reached out, pointing and shouting at the party members behind them telling the person to get away from them, that they were dangerous. However it was too late as The Doppelganger had already weaved itself into the minds of all those involved and was playing its part perfectly.

As chaos broke out in the mind of that party member the doppelganger was busy in creating similar chaos elsewhere.

Meanwhile…

The rest of the group could not find where their party member had gone – they had disappeared but a minute ago as a gust of shadow like gas had gushed from the wall. Racing through it to try and find their missing member they found a dreadful scene where the finishing blow was given to a creature of bone and flesh by their party member.

“Thank the gods you showed up. There were more of these creatures. Several more. They live in the walls and emerge in a puff of smoke and attack without warning.” The party member leant over and breathed heavily with exhaustion. “We will have to be careful moving forward..” he said as another gust of shadow infused smoke erupted from the wall and the party scattered into the surrounding rooms to avoid the gas.

Behind the gas the Lómipilu made its move and changed the rooms that they were in, creating new passages, new rooms and changing the perspective of the players in an instance. One moment they were facing what would be due north, the next they were looking south west at a new door opening into a different hallway. Separated from the rest of the party, well those who were not already taken over by its created doppelgangers.

As the party members began to descend into chaos it made its move, slashing out in violence and the first drops of mortal blood were dropped onto its lightless glass floors and shadowy walls.


NPCs – 237TuWiotDa

Master Fukiyomo

Held captive by the Lómipilu his face borrowed by the demonic creature and used to chaos Master Fukiyomo waits for his student Takeo to rescue him. But when the Party show up he is just as glad to see them.

NPC’s and faces of the Void

The NPC faces are probable the same, some real people some the Lómipilu.


Environment and running the adventure

Lair of the Lómipilu

The additional thing to remember about this lair is the extreme lack of light. Darkvision is good only to 10 feet and all sources of light, except daylight, are reduced by around a quarter. This effectively means that the party has to balance their equipment and light sources for this encounter and with the lair actions and abilities of the Lómipilu it becomes half the battle.

The idea behind the Lair of the Lómipilu is simple. Each time the party members leave a room or hallway the Lómipilu will change where they were moving and where they moved from. For this purpose I have a bunch of rooms or areas that are shrouded in darkness each with a few 1″ grid width (5ft) exits/entrances. For my implementation of this I would print out the maps (or edit them in GIMP or another image manipulation software) and roll a dice per entrance/exit per room/hall.

For simplistic play

Assign the large central room with only one exit with the number 6. Each other entrance/exit roll a 6 and assign it either a 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6.

Do this for all rooms so they have no duplicate ranges. Then try and map them out so that the portal room is somehow connected to the large room. Any entrance or exit that doesn’t have a number allocated to it and a room next to it is considered to be “lost” and you end up back on the portal room.

For complex play

Keep the dice rolled but each time they leave a room they roll a dice (effectively a d3) and they move to a random room that has that number. This becomes an issue of chance and luck rather than skill, role playing or problem solving and so could be more troublesome and it would rely on rolling well multiple times. The caveat to this system would be that they add a +1 to the roll for each room they have visited and make the end room a 7 (so they cant roll 6 then a 6 straight away and head to the final room). This rewards exploration and doesn’t feel as much of a “Game of chance” as a “after 3 rooms you have a 50% chance to get to the boss room”.

However…

This adventure we are doing it a bit differently and incorporating lair actions into the rooms.

The Lómipilu lair is in reality a large (60ft x 60ft) pocket dimension where it the Lómipilu has brought in elements of the shadowlands (Shadowfell / Shadowplane) into the dimension. The dimension swallows dim light completely, bright light is reduced to a quarter of its normal range (torches are now only 5ft bright and a further 5ft dim) and only daylight seems to piece the veil.

Generally the Lómipilu creates illusionary structures from condensed shadow that are so real that they are physical to touch and only those who can convince their own minds that its not an illusion can see the room for what it really is.

Lair Actions

The nature of the Dimension and thus the Lómipilu’s lair is of unbridled chaotic illusion and the creature that calls this liar home is its embodiment. On initiative 20 the Lómipilu takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects. The Lómipilu can’t take the same action 2 rounds in a row.

  • The rooms shift, doors that used to lead to halls or other rooms change to a new position and the lair reforms around its central core.
  • Creatures made of shadow shift in and out of existence and throw themselves at invaders of their territory at the behest of the Lómipilu. These creatures are called Lómipilu Shades (Shadowless Shades). They take the form that the Lómipilu desires, have 7ac and 1 hp and cause no damage on an attack. They also die after 1d4 rounds.
  • The Shadow energy of the pocket dimension erupts forth and causes all exposed flames and non-permanent magical lights to go out.
Made with Inkarnate.com

The Lomipilu

Created in tetra-cube

Aftermath…

As the creature fell writhing to the ground as the final blow struck the walls of the dimension shook and shuddered before the light from the portal could be seen pushing back all traces of shadow. A single pile of glittering treasure could be seen next to a man in the same uniform as Takeo who lay unconscious in the room as the light began to flood in.

A voice, familiar yet estranged whispered past the party “The dimension is collapsing. Hurry” as what could be seen of the pocket dimension began to distort and wobble. Rushing forwards the party manage to grab the man and some treasure before they were violently thrown backwards through the light drenched portal in a cascade of treasure, stolen goods and artefacts mainly, into the room where they cornered the Lómipilu. With a definitive tearing sound the portal between this plane and the pocket dimension tore apart and the way Into the Lair of the Lómipilu was closed.


Thanks for joining me for another end of week writeup. This week marked the tipping point of our party coming into possession of the tools that are needed to best the forces of the Shadow, but more on that this week. Don’t forget to come back this week as I add a bit more to this months adventure and, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Lómipilu – Master of Illusion

Welcome to a Friday Fightnight! Tonight we look at the Lómipilu – Master of illusion and bringer of fear as it welcomes the party into its trap. Tonight we look at Lair actions and what what means for our games so sit back and let’s read on.


Lómipilu – Master of Illusion

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Created in tetra-cube

Lómipilu Lair

The Lómipilu lair is in reality a large (60ft x 60ft) pocket dimension where it the Lómipilu has brought in elements of the shadowlands (Shadowfell / Shadowplane) into the dimension. The dimension swallows dim light completely, bright light is reduced to a quarter of its normal range (torches are now only 5ft bright and a further 5ft dim) and only daylight seems to piece the veil.

Generally the Lómipilu creates illusionary structures from condensed shadow that are so real that they are physical to touch and only those who can convince their own minds that its not an illusion can see the room for what it really is.

Lair Actions

The nature of the Dimension and thus the Lómipilu’s lair is of unbridled chaotic illusion and the creature that calls this liar home is its embodiment. On initiative 20 the Lómipilu takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects. The Lómipilu can’t take the same action 2 rounds in a row.

  • The rooms shift, doors that used to lead to halls or other rooms change to a new position and the lair reforms around its central core.
  • Creatures made of shadow shift in and out of existence and throw themselves at invaders of their territory at the behest of the Lómipilu. These creatures are called Lómipilu Shades (Shadowless Shades). They take the form that the Lómipilu desires, have 7ac and 1 hp and cause no damage on an attack. They also die after 1d4 rounds.
  • The Shadow energy of the pocket dimension erupts forth and causes all exposed flames and non-permanent magical lights to go out.

Thoughts

The Lómipilu would rather try an convince the party to attack each other by using the shades and its ability to create illusions seemingly at will to convince each other that what they are seeing is or isnt real.

When the Lómipilu feels threatened it will fade into darkness (hide action) and will attack isolated or vulnerable creatures savagely as it will always try and fight with an upper hand.


Thanks for visiting tonight and for looking at the stat block tonight for the Lómipilu. I have a few writeups for tomorrow so make sure to come back to keep up to date with Brazen Wolfe Tabletop. Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Lair of the Lómipilu

Thursday brings us something a long time coming. Another Map and this time it’s the Lair of the Lómipilu and something that makes it a bit more tricky to work out. So without too much introduction let’s look at a map!


Lair of the Lómipilu

238ThuLaotLo

Made with Inkarnate.com

The idea behind the Lair of the Lómipilu is simple. Each time the party members leave a room or hallway the Lómipilu will change where they were moving and where they moved from. For this purpose I have a bunch of rooms or areas that are shrouded in darkness each with a few 1″ grid width (5ft) exits/entrances. For my implementation of this I would print out the maps (or edit them in GIMP or another image manipulation software) and roll a dice per entrance/exit per room/hall.

For simplistic play

Assign the large central room with only one exit with the number 6. Each other entrance/exit roll a 6 and assign it either a 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6.

Do this for all rooms so they have no duplicate ranges. Then try and map them out so that the portal room is somehow connected to the large room. Any entrance or exit that doesn’t have a number allocated to it and a room next to it is considered to be “lost” and you end up back on the portal room.

My example is this:

For complex play

Keep the dice rolled but each time they leave a room they roll a dice (effectively a d3) and they move to a random room that has that number. This becomes an issue of chance and luck rather than skill, role playing or problem solving and so could be more troublesome and it would rely on rolling well multiple times. The caveat to this system would be that they add a +1 to the roll for each room they have visited and make the end room a 7 (so they cant roll 6 then a 6 straight away and head to the final room). This rewards exploration and doesn’t feel as much of a “Game of chance” as a “after 3 rooms you have a 50% chance to get to the boss room”.


Thoughts

As always creating maps in Inkarnate is fun and interesting. Trying to get the right colours for a shadow realm and making it readable is difficult so that was challenging.

The mechanics behind here isn’t to be unfair to the players but its to represent the nature of the Lómipilu and what it means to be in its lair. This isn’t a goblin or a spirit folk but a demonic creature that is a master of illusion and bends the shadows around its prey to confuse and entrap its prey before it gets tired of playing. This is meant to be challenging as its probably our second last major encounter before the finale and so I wanted to capture that.


Thanks dropping by, sorry for the late post was I had some technical issues. So that means that you get double posts today! Don’t forget to read the next post later today (featuring Liar actions) and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

How to catch a shadow

Welcome to another end of week writeup where this week we throw the planning to the players and let the find out how to catch a shadow.

As always portraits are created in Artbreeder and the normal wonderful tools like Kobold-fight-Club and D&D Beyond are used frequently.


How to Catch a shadow

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After returning to Takeo to reveal what they had seen in the Library as well as heard from the staff in the castle. “It sounds like its as master Fukiyomo was right. A lot of the characteristics of the creature appear to be similar to the Lóminau.” Takeo said nodding, but his affirmation never reached his eyes. “However something doesn’t add up. The Lóminau are said to be vengeful demons who prey on others life force as only once bathed in the light of a creatures failing life do they regain their shadow and leave for their own plane of existence. But this creature, to our knowledge, hasn’t killed anything so according to the scripts it can’t be a Lóminau but there is another creature that it could be,” Takeo began before a sound came from a corner of the room.

Two daggers were hurled through the wall at incredible speed from Takeo’s however the figure caught the blades before they hit the figure. “Good Takeo. But it is most definitely a Lóminau. I have seen it myself” Master Fukiyomo said as he moved forward and handed the daggers back to Takeo. Clasping Takeo’s shoulder the master spy bowed deeply to Kyoko but averted his gaze from Liz. “It is not often that we see one who is blessed by the light in this castle. I dare say its your presence that has the Lóminau stalking these halls.” the old man said with reverence. “The sooner we get you and your guardians away the better, the safer for you and I dare say Lady Kyoko as we will be able to better trap the Lóminau outside of the castle.

Takeo nodded but the party caught the flicker of confusion in his eyes. Walking over to a desk in LIz’s room he grabbed a quill and paper and scribbled something down quickly, folding the paper twice before muttering a short incantation of words.

“Another one of your tricks Takeo?” his master said as he walked over to him.

“Just a list of reagents and supplies to catch the Lóminau” he said as he handed the note to Master Fukiyomo. Taking the note he unfolded the paper and read through it.

“Powdered iron, crushed garnet, Lotus petal. Good. I’d suggest silk as well for good measure but each to their own” the old spy said as handed the note back to Takeo who scribbled down silk before taking it to the party.

“Whilst you follow this note to the letter can you do me a favour my friends?” he said, strange emphasis placed on the words he spoke. “I have neglected my knives – When we fought the Kapa I chipped the top of my knife in the cave. Are you able to get it sharpened?” he said as he clamped the letter tightly in the closest party members hand and nodded knowingly to them. “Remember what I said to you in the Kapa’s lair after we had fought the wolves?” he said – blocking the view of others when he moved in closer to the party as he muttered a string of words. “A blessing for you all. May the light reveal what we seek.”

With that Takeo and his mater left the room.

Unravelling the note the party were confused, there was no record of the ingredients on the note apart from the hastily written “SILK” over the top of a few words.

“Wall”, “Shade”, “Knife” and a single word that was foreign to them “Lómipilu.”

Kyoko looked over their shoulder, a best as she could. “Lómipilu– that’s a name I am not familiar with” she pondered. “but I do know someone in Heavens reach who would know. Che Shenyuo” she said as one of the more astute party members crept towards the wall where Takeo had thrown daggers. Two indents in the wall were present which matched the size and shape of Takeo’s daggers.

237WeCaSh

As Kyoko lead the party through the final halls in the castle heading past the servants quarters they appeared at a sliding door to a small outside courtyard. The central portion of the courtyard saw a large fountain fed pool that was designed in such a way that the trickling of water resonated through the enclosed area. Kyoko nodded to two guards that stood in the courtyard and walked forward, leading the party and Liz through the tranquil surroundings.

Moving through the courtyard Kyoko led them towards a large curtain of vines and flowers where the slightest trace of diffused smoke and low singing could be heard from within the tangled mess of foliage.

“It must be a rare day indeed for the Princess of the Harimasu to visit me today” a voice said from behind the curtain of leaves. “What can I be of service for our bringer of light?”

Kyoko smiled and pushed past the curtain of vines, her chipper and unable to hide the mirth in her voice. “Master Che, you don’t need to be so formal. You are probably the oldest citizen in then land and the one deserving the most respect here.” she said as the party followed her into a well hidden house under the cascading vines and leaves. “But you are right. I do have service of you.” she added as she sat next to the old man who smiled at where she sat, his eyes unfocused.

“I will be as useful as an old blind man can be princess.” he said turning his head towards the party. “I have had odd dreams of late princess. A shadow in the halls playing tag with a ball of light. The shadow cant capture the light but nor does it want to because the shadow fears what the light will do to it – but it is also drawn towards it. The light doesn’t want to be near the shadow but lingers, waiting and watching. Stepping out to confuse the shadow when it sneaks too close or gets too ambitious.” he said as he reached over for a pot of tea that had been placed next to him. His fingers and hands moving with muscle memory he poured himself a pot of tea, the worn indent of the pot and cups evident that this was a habit of his. “The ball of light has visited me as well. Said sweet things and plied me with riddles that amuse me to no end. It has also helped me around the hut. A kind stranger it is.” he added.

“I fear that these aren’t dreams Che. There is a shadow at court. My spy believes that its something called a Lómipilu. I thought that you may remember something of it and be our best bet. The library was ransacked and our tomes regarding the creatures of The Shadow have been removed or destroyed so we are in the dark.” Kyoko said as she patted the old mans hand.

“The Lómipilu, Shadow Thief. They are creatures much like the Lóminau but instead of having no shadow of their own they are shadow. Able to harness the shadows of this world to stich their own world into ours and fusing their own reality with ours.” Che answered as he turned his head to stare at one of the party members, he was starting to sweat and his eyes were wide with fear.

“Do you remember how to kill them or trap them?” Kyoko pressed, Che was shaking now.

“Alas no princess, I never fought one but I remember my mother, the light prophet, mentioning them. There was an old proverb about catching shadow that she used to say but I took it as a child story or something to praise the light.” he said as he wiped tears from his eyes. The weight of the war and his memories getting too much for him.

“One by one the shadows gathered and writhed like beasts on the prowl. One by one the Shadows tricked their owners until all was dark. One by one they grew and merged into the one true Shadow. But one by one they split from their form….” She began to recite the story.

Kyoko squeezes his hand and started to speak “One by one the lights surrounded the beast and one by one they shrank down. One by one the lights grew and truth was revealed and one by one the shadows hid from the light. One by one the shadows cowered under a box and one by one the lights held the box closed and the world was bathed in light and truth and warmth.” Kyoko finished the story and smiled at the party. “My mother also used to say the same thing to me when I was worried about the monsters under my bed. She would light candles and place them around the room, where the shadows would gather so that they didn’t look so scary when they had no where to gather.”

Che nodded and sipped from his tea. “I wish I could be of more use princess but I can hear my friend calling me.” he said as he lay back slowly, his eye lids fluttering before falling asleep in his chair. As he fell asleep his hand opened and a light shone form his palm. Frowning Kyoko reached in and plucked out a single finger-nail sized scale that glowed and shone like the sun.

“Interesting. I wonder where Che got hold of a dragon scale…”

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As the party of adventurers, Kyoko and Liz left the cascade of leaves and vines that separated Che from the outside world a single mote of light drifted down from the unseen canopy. As the mote of light drifted down Che began to stir and though his half closed eyes could not see he smiled at the light.

“My little friend. You have come back to me.” he said as she shakily went to pour a tea – but the stone pot was not where he had left it. As panic began to set into the old mans mind he knocked the cup off the little wooden log he used as a table and reached for the cup as it fell.

Golden digits and golden claws caught the cup and clasped it tightly as they lifted it to the shaking mans hands. As they touched the cup to the man the relief that welled up inside the man overflowed into his face and a peaceful smile replaced the look of concern. “You have saved me again my friend.” he said as he placed the cub down into the little groove it lived in. As golden digits moved the pot back to where it lived Che poured a cup of tea and offered it in thanks to the creature of light.

Sitting in silence and listening to, albeit noisy, slurping from the creature the old man smiled contently and swung his legs. “The young princess is chasing shadows again.” he said with a light giggle. “Much like mother used to when she was young. I don’t suppose you know how to catch the darkness that hides in our halls do you?” he asked the light. After a moment sound of china being placed down onto wood clinked a happy sound.

“I am afraid I do not” said the light. A deep rumbling sound as a creature that was neither light nor flesh but both opened its whiskered covered lips. “But I have faith in the princess and her hunting partners. They will think of something.”

Che nodded and looked towards the light. “I can still see them, the creatures of The Shadow. They dance with mirth as they rip us apart. I can see them reaching into my mind and take my sanity. I fear its slipping little orb of light.” Che said as he sipped on his tea.

“But perhaps I can still help the princess one last time. But I may need your help my little orb of light, my friend.” Che added as he turned to the creature who was floating above the chair. “Can you help her catch the shadow?”

The creature remained quiet for a moment as if weighing up the question and the decision. “I will do what I can – but I must not interfere.” it began to speak before pausing. After a moment it continued as if considering its options “there are things that we can not do and things we can.”

“Thank you my friend.” Che asked as he sipped from his tea. The sound of freshly falling rain splattering on the dark green curtain of leaves brought hope of a cool night.


NPCs – 237TuWiotDa

Kyoko Harimasu

Kyoko seems very interested in helping the party uncover the creature in the castle and leads them to Che – an ancient man by their standards who is rumoured to have the blood of the beings of light in his veins.

Captain Kuang Ping

Kuang is absent for most of the time as he attends the emperor in providing war council.

Hana Toshio-Harimasu

Hana gets settled into courtly life again after what feels like an age of her being locked away in the Toshio house.

Takeo

Takeo distracts Master Fukiyomo as he begins to suspect things are not as they seem. He provides some insight (if needed) to the party but otherwise avoids them so they can work out how to catch a shadow.

Master Fukiyomo

A well renowned spy as adviser to the emperor. However he had been missing for quite some time until now…

Che Shenyuo


Che was born a very long time ago and remembers the first wars with the shadow. The son of a Ryokughan Merchant and an elf he has an extraordinarily, some may say unnaturally, long life span. Because of this he is looked after by the Harimasu family and guarded constantly because of the knowledge he holds.

The wars of his younger days may be over but the horrors he saw live with him today. Now that there is a call to arms again he may be the only one who remembers how The Shadow was pushed back last time.

NPC’s and faces of the Void

The NPC faces are probable the same, some real people some the Lómipilu.


Environment and running the adventure

Inside of the castle – A few hallways but it’s a well flowing castle that provides ample hiding positions for the creature to disappear from sight.

Adventure

237FrPlDiAd

This week has a problem to solve. How do you catch a shadow. Whilst not like the incorporeal shadow creature this one is something that uses the shadow to move between the material plane and pocket dimensions it creates. The question is how do we catch it.

For me this week is easy. The first cool sounding, plausible solution the party comes up with we go for. No holding back and jump with two feet. The outcomes is what we will cover tonight.

What ever the solution the creature will dive towards and into the nearest patch of shadow (remember that it’s human size so its got to make sense.) And it will create a portal to its central pocket dimensions. The portal will be big enough for the party to fit through (big-medium or smaller) and it will remain open as long as a source of light is present on both sides of the portal.

Our orb of light friend may pose a solution here but more on that this weekend.

Once open we cut to next weeks adventure, fighting the creature in it’s home turf.

Suggested help from the Orb.

When we look at how to catch a shadow we need to understand what is possible in this world. For us that’s easy as the above adventure states – pick something that sounds plausible that would work that the party can think of.

The orb of light can help us in our task by laying a path of dragon scales (I think we can all see where I am going with this…) to lead the shadow somewhere, provide a burst of light randomly in the room or otherwise lure, pin, or herd the creature somewhere. Perhaps for a few nights the party wakes up with more glowing dragon scales at their bed, or finds them through the room. Maybe the party fashioned weapons out of them or items that can give of bursts of light. If they want to see if a merchant or artisan is available to creature something then I would say that Heavens Reach city is the place to find them.


Thanks for joining me for another end of week writeup. It’s bee a long week and after a successful, but not outright win for the local Warhammer tournament I am beyond fatigued. So on that note I appreciate you at dropping by tonight to read this weeks end of week writeup and I would ask that you don’t forget to come back this week for the final confrontation Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Players Discretion Advised

Welcome to Friday Fight-night where this week is really short. Yup going to go straight to the point and call out that the entire combat and/or conflict this week is player discretion advised.


Players Discretion Advised

237FrPlDiAd

This week has a problem to solve. How do you catch a shadow. Whilst not like the incorporeal shadow creature this one is something that uses the shadow to move between the material plane and pocket dimensions it creates. The question is how do we catch it.

For me this week is easy. The first cool sounding, plausible solution the party comes up with we go for. No holding back and jump with two feet. The outcomes is what we will cover tonight.

What ever the solution the creature will dive towards and into the nearest patch of shadow (remember that it’s human size so its got to make sense.) And it will create a portal to its central pocket dimensions. The portal will be big enough for the party to fit through (big-medium or smaller) and it will remain open as long as a source of light is present on both sides of the portal.

Our orb of light friend may pose a solution here but more on that this weekend.

Once open we cut to next weeks adventure, fighting the creature in it’s home turf.


Thanks for dropping by this double post night. Don’t forget to come back this weekend where I look at the Sovereign Smash tournament I am playing at and maybe another less known tabletop game. Intrigued? Well you better not forget to come back this weekend to find out more, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Overshadowed Return

Welcome to the first end of week writeup for September where our princess has returned home! However she has come back to an overshadowed return with the revelation that all is not well at home. A creature has taken up residence within the castles wall and not even the spy Takeo has been able to find it yet. But perhaps our party can help?

As always portraits are created in Artbreeder and the normal wonderful tools like Kobold-fight-Club and D&D Beyond are used frequently.


Overshadowed Return

The familiar sights of the city were a welcome blanket of comfort for Kyoko, Hana and, although he would never admit it Kuang. As the party moved down the streets the busy merchants, artisans, guards and farmers stopped and cheered for the return of Kyoko. At the intersection of a busy street where their was a five feet wide line of red bricks that ran the length of it, perpendicular to the one they were travelling on Kyoko turned with a bright smile and looked in the direction of a massive tree.

The tree was ancient. Easily taller than the majority of the buildings around the city and Kyoko searched for when she returned home. In fact it was the first thing she always checked. Amongst the branches of the tree was a strip of red cloth hanging from a branch, fluttering in the wind loosely. Kyoko turned to the party, still smiling and walked closer. “I feel like a drink in celebration of returning home.” and amongst the cheers of those on the streets around her she head down a road to a the Jade Cup.

The Jade Cup was a well known establishment in Heavens Reach providing good food and drinks to the public. As Kyoko ordered a round of drinks for the table a cloaked stranger sat down next to the party.

“I am sorry Lady Kyoko for interrupting your return to the capital but I hoped you had remembered the training.” the stranger spoke softly as he looked nervously around the room.

“I saw the warning.” she said looking around the room, mimicking the stranger. “So what news do you bring Takeo?”

Takeo leaned in, nodding with a smile to the party. “It’s been some time my friends,” he said before leaning in closer to the table. “I can’t confirm it but there is something in the castle that I can’t detect nor find. I spoke directly to it and discovered no taint, no malicious intent but it intercepted your letters to me and somehow got to the vault before I could. There is also something else in the castle, something that eludes me still.”

“So what do we do from here?” Kyoko asked as she drank from her cup.

“Trust only those you rode in with” Takeo said as he stood from the table and stumbled towards the door. The performance he put on as being drunk and being asked to leave was impressive, but perhaps not his most believable one.

“Well. It’s not quite the welcome I was anticipating, but it’s not the first time we have had this situation.” Kyoko said. “So are we up for a bit of a witch hunt?”

Spy Master

“Now,” Takeo began as he walked down the halls of the castle, “the creature is likely posing as a servant, a guard or part of your family…” Takeo added as if almost an afterthought. “we must be careful of what we reveal here as to not give away us being aware of it.” He took a breath after checking around a corner for others. “Likely someone it has killed. I dare say that it wont risk being exposed by wearing the form of someone it may have the chance of being in the same room as.”

“But if it was able to so convincingly deceive you how will we tell it apart from the others?” Hana asked, her voice still sounding uncertain of itself.

“I was hoping our friends or Lady Liz would be of assistance there.” Takeo said smiling at the party as he approached a grand double door.

“Fathers through there isn’t he?” Kyoko said as she smiled and walked towards the door. “It’s been months since I have seen him.” she added as she pushed on the door.

“Remember what I said my lady.” Takeo said as he pushed the doors open for the princess.

The room on the other side of the doors was flooded in light, airy and had was almost serene. The dozen or so guards, members of court and family and the assistants at the castle all knelt in front of an kind faced man who sat at the top of a dais. As Kyoko entered the room the man looked up and his face broke out into an enormous smile. “Praise and thanks to the ancestors, you have returned safe and with companions I see. Takeo and Lady Lizbet have explained that you are the reason that I have my daughter safe at home.”

The emperor said to the party. “You have my sincerest thanks. If we were meeting upon better times I would have you dine with me for a week in celebration and you would want for nothing. But alas I have restricted the banquets until we can sort out our supply lines with the wall.” he emphasised the situation with a loud sigh. “We are having trouble sending supplies and food up there. When ever we do the caravans and their guards are ambushed and the brave men and women fighting back The Shadow go hungry.”

“Father I am sure that my new friends here would be able to assist us. They have bested a Laelóng, defended me from the Yuki-onna that has allied herself with the traitorous snakes the Toshio family. And they brought back my cousin safely home. I am sure that investigating the happenings with our supply lines is child’s play to them at this stage.” Kyoko said with a broad smile towards the party.

The emperor smiled. In fact he beamed. “Hana. It has been far too long.” he said as the quiet young woman moved from behind the party. “If I had known what was happening to you I would have sent troops to rescue you from your corrupt husband.”

“I dare say that she would have joined us sooner or later” a voice cut across the tender moment between family members as the rustling of feather and the slightest gust of wind sounded from outside an open door. A short, slightly hunched man stepped forward and guards rushed to intercept him.

“Halt!” The emperor called as he stood and moved down the steps to his dais. “I dare say that if you engage that man in combat you cant hope to win.” he said as he reached the bottom of the stairs. “It’s been some time Master Fukiyomo. What dark tidings do you bring?”

The old man smiled. “You know me too well it seems. Unfortunately armies of spirit-folk are ambushing your caravans, but it sounds like you have a plan for that.” the man said as he nodded to Kyoko, the party and Takeo. “But I also believe that we have more to worry about from our neighbours than what comes form the walls at this stage. A sizeable force is marching through the Kunagi ranges as we speak. Slowed down by the collapse of some of the large peaks I will add.” the man nodded respectfully to the group again. “But on this way none-the-less.”

The emperor moved down to a map of the lands as his war council positioned more wooden blocks on it to represent the new information. “Are you sure of this Master?” Takeo said as he stepped forward towards the table, noticing that there was a lot of dark coloured blocked near the wall, about two days ride from here.

“I saw them attempting to clear the rubble from your battle with the Laelóng myself,” he paused as he rested heavy on the hilt of a cane-sword. “As I chased down a Lóminau. One who is without Shadow. A demon of the shadow fell.” The court hummed with the panicked murmur from those who had attended the court. “But I lost it when I felt the presence of a Shadow born. And witnessed it being felled by a party of foreign heroes. So I went to pick up where I left off but could not find where the creature had gone to.” his statement causing a different type of murmur to spread through the room. One of disbelief and awe.

“It seems daughter, that we have much to catch up on. And I expect that Takeo also will want to have words with his master too.” the emperor gravely stated.


NPCs

Kyoko Harimasu

Kyoko’s return home is overshadowed as she receives a warning signal from Takeo as she enters the city. Following through with the agrees process with her spy she uncovers that the shadows taint has even spread into her home. Now she asks the party to help expel this darkness from Heavens Reach Castle.

Captain Kuang Ping

Happy to be home Kuang is a bit more relaxed, however quiet and a bit reserved. Feeling guilt for doubting the party and betraying the trust of Kyoko he hides his secret shame and does his best to make up for it in his own way.

Hana Toshio-Harimasu

Happy to be home and safe Hana is a more vibrant person and is quick to step into the affairs of state where she can. However as she has been with the enemy for a number of years, even married to one of the families that has betrayed them and march upon their gates, reportedly, she isn’t trusted with much.

Takeo

On the hunt for the creature that thwarted him in the castle Takeo appears calm but highly alert.

Despite his hunt he welcomes Kyoko, Kuang, Hana and especially the party back with open arms and acts as their guide around the castle.

NPC’s and faces of the Void

We have a few NPCs this week and a creature that can make itself appear like any other creature through illusions. Any portrait or description of a NPC will function for this – even NPCs previously met which could lead into some interesting conversations or interactions with the creature where they are appearing as a NPC that the Party may recognise.


Environment and running the adventure

Inside of the castle – A few hallways but it’s a well flowing castle that provides ample hiding positions for the creature to disappear from sight.

Adventure

Now in order for this week to go smoothly we need to have a few things ironed out. In fact we need to know exactly what the end goal of the month is and for me that’s easy. I want the party to find, confront and then defeat the creature that is so well accustomed to lies and illusion that its existence is in fact one. But how do we confront an illusion. This is the question we need to answer tonight by the following.

  1. Strange happenings
  2. Illusion
  3. Mirrored espionage

Strange happenings

For our party to be truth seekers we need them to have leads. Takeo, Kyoko or even the members of the household may come forth (indeed a few of them will) and advise that they saw other members of staff different ones, acting strangely. The common denominator is that all of them cant remember who it was. but give a generic explanation that they feel as though they were friends and remember them at dinners and festivals.

Each person though, when questioned more, had a jade serpentine bracelet on their right wrist. The party can either ask the question outright or if they are a bit stumped we can assist. To assist the party the second person they question would look uncertain and come back to bring it up that they remembered something that stood out. The jade bracelet. They would explain that the Jade bracelet normally was reserved for a certain level of staff as a symbol of their favour from the emperor.

When finding the member of staff, the keeper of Jade, who is responsible for these bracelets is the next step. Once there they show off the five bracelets they have – as they are returned and stored in a chest every night at which point the party can investigate them.

Illusion

The Jade bracelet is our first clue. One of them is an illusion and DC 15 investigation or arcana check will see through it. Those with witch sight or the ability to detect magic can tell that all of them have an enchantment placed upon them but one of them has a strong illusion magic placed on it.

The Keeper of Jade goes into panic mode and wants to raise the issue with the emperor. The party can let it happen at which point it makes the third step harder or they can urge them to remain quiet – Something that both Takeo and Kyoko would have mentioned to them.

The Jade Bracelet that is missing and an illusion (its a rusted copper ring with fell writing inscribed into it) belongs to a member of staff who deals with serving food, primarily to the emperor and family.

When the person is questioned about the bracelet, if they are, they snap out as if coming out from a trance and become extremely disorientated. Upon questioning they cant remember the last two weeks. They remember walking into the library to take a scholar there some food and that’s the last thing they remember. The staff member has flashes of dream like memories of conversations with new staff where parts of the memory are disjointed or blurry.

As part of this dream memory they distinctly remember that one of the staff had their shadow shift and stir as if a candle was flickering on the other side of them but there was nothing there. The staff of house show the party to the library and to where the new staff reside.

The library has an entire book shelf cast in illusion which is only broken by DC 15 investigation or arcana check. Once broken the party realises that he books are either missing or strewn around the shelf and floor. The illusion is powerful enough that physical interaction from our seekers of truth doesn’t break the illusion.

The staff quarters has no illusion on it.

Mirrored Espionage

During their investigation a successful DC17 perception check will reveal that they are being followed by someone who knows how to tail them. This person (creature) wears an ordinary face of a member of staff. In fact they may have spoken to this person already who came to them to report something odd or out of the ordinary that was completely different to everyone else.

If confronted the creature will move swiftly but in a calculating way through the halls and the party will lose track of them in a door way. The doorway wont be to anything in specific but I would maybe have it lead to a lesser family members room who wont take kindly to being interrupted or questioned.

If not confronted they will tail the party for the rest of the session unless they go to the library – at which point it will hurriedly leave.


Well another week come and gone and its been great having you along for the ride. and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Shadow Born’s Final Move

Tonight as we head towards the conclusion of this yearly adventure meet Mugrave once again, but this time she is something more. This month is a level 7 adventure so our party of adventurers better be up for the task in dealing with the Shadow Born’s final move.

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 which has had some bits modified over the months content. Now including the original content, and some bits added this is a smaller than normal length, only just making 7635! words long. I really do appreciate the time you take to read through these end of month adventures.

All Maps were made in Inkarnate using their Pro license, Art was created in Artbreeder and the statblocks were created in Tetra-cube AND the balancing of encounters is a mixture of experience and the guides found at Kobold Fight Club.

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


Part 1 – Those without Form – 231MoWaVi

After the party had found some horses that were in need of some new, living owners they continued north. The hope of a warm bed and hot meals quickly fades when they passed another village that was in the wake of violence left by the Shadows minions. As they passed through the village they noted that only some of the houses were destroyed whilst others looked like they had sustained minimal damage. But regardless of which of the villages along the northern road they travelled there were always bodies in some stage of mutilation or being devoured.

About three days travel from the Kunagi Ranges the party came across a village that was untouched. In fact as they asked around they quickly became aware that many of the people in this village were refugees from the previous village or some to the East.

“What’s east?” asked one of the players.

“The wall, our last defence from the shadow and the hordes of creatures that it commands in the mountains” Kyoko replied.

“We best make haste to your home Lady Kyoko, I fear that we spend too much time on these roads” Kuang said as he analyses the buildings and faces nearby.


Begging

As the party left the Village and headed north she watched from the side of the road. Posing as one of the refugees from an earlier village she had made it to this small town without any real issue. Now that she was seen as one of those who drifted, one of those in need it was easy to move from place to place without questions being asked which suited her purposes.

“Soon we will be rid of that princess. Once she leads me to the light.” Mugrave muttered quietly to herself as she moved to get some food. “Once I have taken care of the light then our plan wont fail” she said to the voice in her head. The Shadow was pleased with his servant and retreated back from the busy street.


“We won’t stay long in this village on our way to Heavens Reach.” Kyoko explained as she moved down the street, greeting villagers and guards like she was an old acquaintance of some. “I don’t like the idea of that spirit harming these innocent folk because we stayed a moment too long.”

“I agree. It’s best for your safety and the safety of others if we can return you home.” Kuang said as he uncharacteristically bent down and handed some food to a few small children who were begging for it.

Without warning one of the guards that had approached Kyoko drew their sword and lunged at the princess. The party sprang into action and within moments the guard lay at their feet. After a few moments of looking for other threats the body of the guard shuddered once and a gargling wheeze came forth from the body. As the shuddering stopped the body separated into finger length slugs that crawled into the ground leaving nothing behind.

Staring at the creature, the place where it was to be more exact, the party were unable to identify the creature. Kuang, Hana and Kyoko stared at some of the fleshy slug like creatures as they buried in the ground. Scooping one up and putting it in a glass bottle Kyoko examined the creature.

The skin of it appeared to take on the texture and colour of what body part, clothing or item it was imitating before it was reverted back to this fleshy slug form. After a few moments of it being captured in a bottle it slowed its twitching and writhing before stopping all together and appearing to be dead. “Gross little creature,” Kyoko muttered as she stared at it, “some of the studied men back home may know what it is.”

Walking down the road once more, this time more cautious they met with no difficulty or hostility for quite some time. The group even let their guard down as they approached a vendor selling breads and street food. As they went to hand over the bartered for coin a knife dashed out from behind the counter and after another intense fight another mass of fleshy slugs wormed their way into the ground.

“These attacks are not enough to get past us.” Kuang mused as he looked at one of the slugs he had impaled on his sword. “They die quickly, inflict little to no damage but its the same type of creature attacking us in different ways. There must be a plan or intent behind these attacks.”


Walking through the streets trailing the foreigners and the Harimasu princess was easy. Dressed as she was, with the skin she was wearing she could blend in any where. Mugrave moved through the streets, appearing hungry and confused, a look of fear and a touch of despair tugging at her voice helped to sell the act.

As she moves from door to door, vendor to vendor she asks for food, spare coin or clothes to keep her warm. Her comely appearance, soft voice and youthful skin draw more than one glance from the men but that doesn’t concern her. She watches as one of her agents moves closer to the party, glancing back knowingly towards the her and receiving a signal from Mugrave before lunging at Kyoko.

The panic that ensued was sheer bliss. Mugrave relished in watching the streets erupt into chaos as the adventurers and Kyokos guard erupted into action easily cutting down the would be assailant. As she pretended to scream and scramble to safety as the violent response came Mugrave studied them. She watched their moves and the assessing their capabilities as was her plan. She could not attack the group without knowing what she was up against and now she knew.

As the day went on more of her agents attacked the group and she learnt more about their strength. She would need to be careful with this lot.

Settling down in a refugee camp for the night she enjoyed the comforts of poverty. Free food, blankets and different faces, emotions and personalities to learn and perfect. For a skin walker such as herself having a supply of inspiration and a list of faces and voices to use was of most importance.


Areas and places of note

Refugee Camp– A collection of cloth, canvas, smoke and tent posts the refugee camp hosts dozens pof the displaced and unfortunate.

Environment and running the adventure

The panicked streets is an easy enough gimmick with people running around and looking for a place to hide. This means that for our party they now have to deal with this movement and shift of potential threats. As DMs we need to really sell this. Describe the moment that the panic sets in or just simply emphasise that these people, refugees or farmers are just trying to get away from the spark of violence.

These small details can help drive the narrative of the encounter and enrich it from just being “Combat” to being “roleplay”.

The actual encounter should be one or two Quaigin attacking at once. Trying a different approach or tactic each time as they test how the party react.

Notable NPC interactions.

Kyoko Harimasu – Kyoko is quick to help those in need but when she starts to get attacked by the Quaigin she is more hesitant to approach strangers.

Captain Kuang Ping – Kuang is un-normally kind to people, revealing a side of himself that isn’t often seen by the Captain. He is however the first to draw his sword and strike down those who attack Kyoko or Hana.

Sasha (Hana Toshio-Harimasu) – Hana is much like Kyokoas she helps where she can and people celebrate her passing along with Kyoko and Kuang. The three are well loved and despite the trauma the villagers and townsfolk have endured these past few weeks they try and protect and help the harimasu heir where they can.

Encounter

Shifters

The panicked streets is an easy enough gimmick with people running around and looking for a place to hide. This means that for our party they now have to deal with this movement and shift of potential threats. As DMs we need to really sell this. Describe the moment that the panic sets in or just simply emphasise that these people, refugees or farmers are just trying to get away from the spark of violence.

These small details can help drive the narrative of the encounter and enrich it from just being “Combat” to being “roleplay”.

The actual encounter should be one or two Quaigin attacking at once. Trying a different approach or tactic each time as they test how the party react.


After the encounter:

The party can do what they please, but to head back into the village of Lanidaye will help drive the story forward. Whether it is to buy supplies or say farewell the village should be provided as the suggestion from Jason and the other NPCs.


Potion of Radiance

Welcome to a Thursday writeup where we look at those little extra details that make our game that little bit more for our party. Tonight I wanted to put a bit of flavour on the potion that was revealed earlier this week as well as the weapons which were taken. The Potion of Radiance, as the name suggests, is sunlight and divine energy liquified. Where as the blades of the same name-sake are something of a rarer variety – something that is carved from divinity itself. Curious? Well read on dear reader, read on.


Potion of Radiance

234ThPoR

Credit to original artist, Pramod

The glowing potion, a Potion of Radiance is the condensed essence of dragon fire given liquid form. This almost holy liquid surges power through the body of those who consume it giving them enhanced senses, strength and imbuing their body and weapons with radiant energy.

Once consumed for 10 minutes a creature gains advantage on saving throws, emits a bright light within 10 feet and dim light for a further 15 feet. The consumer’s weapons also count as magical for the duration and the damage is dealt as radiant instead of slashing, bludgeoning or piercing.


Blade of Radiance

Sword image created in GIMP.

The sword of radiance is a burst of sunlight. A drop of divinity and radiance hammered into a tool of war. Only those chosen by the creature that created it, or entrusted by the family of the weapon are seen as worthy to wield this power.

This weapon shines bright light, as if daylight within 15 feet and sheds dim light a further 20 feet from there. Creatures in shadow do not gain benefit of partial cover or cover and it deals an extra 2d4 radiant damage on successful attack. This weapon requires attunement and they must be chosen or appointed as custodian of the blade before the true properties are bestowed.

The legend of how these blades were formed has been lost over time. In fact only one being a live remembers how they were made because they put their blood, sweat and tears into its creation. Literally. These blades are formed from the essence of ancestral dragons and as such when wielded by the descendants of the creatures who made the first pact with such creatures their full power is revealed.


Thanks for dropping by tonight. A little while ago I promised or committed to deliver magical items for this campaign and tonight I fulfil that oath. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night and the nights following as we move to wrap-up this month and move into the September! And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Railroading or Player-Centric plot?

Good evening everyone and welcome to a bit of a discussion around Railroading or Player-Centric plot.

When it comes down to the definition of railroading it boils down to, basically the following. “The DM taking control of the outcomes of the adventure despite the actions of the players”.

The beginning

When I was a 5 year old boy learning D&D from my dad railroading wasn’t a concept. No really. It wasn’t. You would play an adventure, go from point A-B. You would track the bandits to their lair that had been overrun with stirge’s, find the mcguffin and bring it back to the nearby village. That was it. The adventure really became a single road leading to adventure, combat and loot. Even the adventure books that came out during that time also were of the same page. A single adventure, albeit longer, where you went from A-B and then to C after you had found out that NPC1 was really BBEG2. Or something like that.

This made it easy to DM. In fact all you needed was one adventure, the plot hook and all you had to do was run it using your prep sheet. You had to improvise around the decisions during the adventure of course but this wasn’t hard to do. As the DM you knew your NPCs, the map and the creatures. You didn’t have to worry about what was off the beaten track and your players knew it.

The players came in expecting adventure, they were trained mercenaries, henchmen or heroes and they had a job to do. They had to explore the hidden dungeon, find the mad alchemists lair and defeat the golems within. These heroes didn’t care for the nearby keep – that was another adventure and this alchemist was dangerous. And so the adventures went like that. Each session a new adventure, a new story and new things to see and explore – but all prepared for by a Dungeon Master who spent hours on it for the players, and their, enjoyment.

The shift

You remember Skyrim? maybe it was your first RPG. For me Neverwinter nights was my first digital RPG and boy was it great. You could move through the towns, buildings, dungeons and sewers and learn and do anything. But there were doors that needed keys and those keys were kept by holders of the plot. You couldn’t continue to the next town until you had done the quest before hand. And you couldn’t do that quest until you completed the one currently assigned to you. Yes the bakers wife would ask you to kil lrats in her basement as a side quest – but you didn’t leave the city until much later.

With the rise of open world games and bigger RPGs, like Skyrim, we saw the humble style of fun weekender-one-shots step aside for long winded campaigns that were completely driven by players decisions. This makes it harder to plan and organise for the DM, which is 100% fine. But the counter argument is if the story is that an evil wizard is in a castle to the north you want the party to find that castle. You don’t want them exploring the swamp-islands to the south where the cannibalistic tribes of Kuthrapika hunt the marshy waterways. Though – that does sound fun now doesn’t it?

Railroading or Player-Centric plot?

The rise of “your decisions, your story” is putting the classic “Your decisions, my quest” in a negative light in some circles. This unrealistic expectation of the DM shifting, changing and maintaining multiple story lines and bending the game that they facilitate (yes.. the big F word..) makes it harder to convince players to come along with you on the journey through the adventure you have crafted.

The old saying of “it takes two to tango” is so true with D&D these days and the real quest is getting the players to care about your story enough and stick to it and not go looking for adventure but trust that you have it in spades, waiting for them to come along for the journey.


Well that’s it for me tonight. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night where I will take you through the weekly write-up and look to finish up this month. If you have a different view on railroading let us know, let’s talk about it openly from players and dungeon masters alike as the game has changed heaps since I was a kid and the adventure needs to work for both DM and player.

Don’t forget to read up on the past week, look out for new stat-blocks and potential new items for our adventurers in the coming posts and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

30 Minute Challenge – Shepherd of Fire

Hi all and welcome to a 30 Minute Challenge evening. Now it has been quite some time since I have done something like this. In fact I haven’t I don’t believe I have done something like this as tonight I will be using a song from one of my playlist. Just one song on repeat for 30 minutes… So prepare for 30 Minute Challenge – Shepherd of Fire.

So it should be no secret that music helps invoke imagery and can really help provoke encounters, combat or key moments in the adventure. In fact music is a common tool I use for my creative writing or the daily adventures that I create for this blog. So without giving away too much and in the idea of getting through the write-up in some timely manner let’s roll on.


The rules:

  1. 30 minute limit.
  2. The them must be inspirited by the song Shepherd of Fire.
  3. Grammatical and spelling checks are allowed outside of the 30 minutes but the content must be there.
  4. At the end of the challenge the produced adventure should be able to be used for a D&D one shot.
  5. Must have some form of NPC, a creature, and a goal.

I have kept it nice and simple for tonight, no forced weird things or restrictions but if you want to see something like that feel free to suggest it.

30 Minute Challenge – Shepherd of Fire


Time started: 8:53pm

The party are mid-quest to explore a castle on the edge of the lands of a previous benefactor who they owe a debt to. As they approach the castle the area around them distorts as if falling through water and after a few moments of distortion they realise what is happening. A magic portal has appeared around them.

Whirling through space and time they appear in the hall that consists mainly of floating debris and a small landing attached to ascending stairs. At the top of the stairs sits a giant skeleton, It appears to be from a giant of some breed as it sits in a broken thrown in ancient heraldry. The last thing people notices, apart from the 20ft long mace is a three pronged crown that appears to have been crafted from fresh embers.

“Ah, hero. You have come at last it seems” the skeleton booms out from its risen throne. “I have been waiting for some time for the on who bears the ember. The one who will become the Shepherd of Fire.”

A moment of confusion and the party asking the being to who the skeleton is referring too but the questions fall on deaf ears. The massive skeleton shifts a bit, moving a massive two handed mace from one bony hand to the next. “You do not taste like the last to bear the ember but you will be tested like the others. With the rising of the next full moon you will have exactly one lunar cycle until your test ends. In that time you must prove yourself worthy to be the next Shepherd of Fire or you will have your ember snuffed.” the skeleton rumbled.

“It’s been four millennia since I was chosen to be the last. It has been four decades since the last trial of the Ember and that price, that ruler of men and women was found wanting and cast back into the coals.” The skeleton rumbled. Lightning flashed through the sky revealing swirling clouds and chunks of what would have been a grand city floating in the void beyond the dark and gloom of this plane. “I grow tired and the ember has long since consumed my body. It is time that we crown a new shepherd and the power that comes with it.”

With that the skeleton raised his mace high above his head and brought it down to point at the party and in a billow of smoke and soot the were launched backwards through another rip-tide of a portal.

The nausea was unexpected and new as the party stood in front of the castle once again. One by one each of them looked around checking if they each experienced the same thing. Suddenly a searing burning pain appeared on the left wrist of each of the party members. A crown of embers was being branded on their wrist with three points of it extending up the back of their hand. A faint ember like glow appears on each of their hands but its only visible to themselves.


Plot

The Shepherd of fire is a multi-dimensional being who was created during a time where the forces of chaos needed governing. During the first war between the layers of hell the Shepherd of Fire was created to stop chaos from destroying itself.

As time went on the title passed from being to being with the predecessor passing judgement of worthiness on the new bearer of the ember. The bearer of the ember was a mortal who holds the potential to carry the title and if they are found to be worthy in a set of trials that are secretly bestowed upon them they are worthy. Worthy of the power and title of the Shepherd of Fire. The last to be found worthy was a fire giant prince of significant power but in the centuries he has been testing people he has been unable to find one to bear the mantle.

This adventure hook works best with multiple one shots generally 7 to 10 levels in for the individual party members. This gives the party a good starting point towards the trials (one shots) but – all of them are branded as the holder of the ember. This means that one, or all of them could become the Shepherd which could create the beginning of a fun campaign around bringing order – well at least reigning in the chaotic nature of the layers of hell.

Time finished: 9:17pm


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