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(6/19/03 2:44 am)
Am I being too obtuse?
Some background...

I'm running RTTOEE again for a newish group, most of whom have played RTTOEE to some degree, most of them not past Hommlet... One of them even has the module himself...

I'm a fairly stubborn so-and-so, and I hate people having access to the modules when I am running, so I'm going to modify it. (apologies Monte)

I'm setting this something like 10 yrs after the RTTOEE module was written for... assuming adventurers & suchlike have held up the Cult for this period.. allowing the main plot to continue, they layout to be mainly the same... but people etc may be moved & changed...

What I have set up... The group arrive in Rastor... they see no signs of life... the investigate slowly into the town... and they find a nightmare ... The people are lying strewn around... gaunt, grey, yellowed teeth, yellow fingers, eyes open... They show no obvious signs of life.

After a small amount of investigation, they set up camp in the inn... (deserted for months)

At nightfall... they hear some ominously loud horses hoofbeats, look out the windows... and see an dark robed character riding through town with smoking sensors hanging from a pole across his shoulders..

Shortly afterwards, the corpselike townsfolk, get to their feet and begin converging on the inn.... in a very zombie like manner of course..

ok.. session ended here... with mild looks of panic in the eyes of some players...

What the characters don't know is that the cult have been addicting the town (For YEARS) to a magical smoking weed, that makes you feel great at first (a small increase to certain stats), but after withdrawls reduces your stat points dramatically. Upon getting to zero, the people enter a catatonic state. When the horseman rides through town, the smoking sensors raise their stats again slightly, making them move again... (In a very Day of the dead manner) There are several spells keyed into the smoke... mostly of an enchantment type.. allowing for the Cult to control their actions as desired. (the cult have been working on and refining this week over the years)

Is the plot too obtuse? Should I put more leads into it? A simple healing will return the townsfolk to normal (well, 5 hps or more will clear their heads slightly, cure the addiction & allow them to recover the stat loss slowly) (I know this is a major departure from the original plot... but I like to give the Players some satisfaction early on)

Comments, ideas & general chat please... you guys always know ways to make things better..

Runechild (mod)
Council of Magisters

(6/19/03 5:51 am)
Re: Am I being too obtuse?
Two things:

1) You don't have to give explicit clues, but you do need to prepare some notes on how the players can figure out that these 'zombies' are not in fact undead. Like: turning doesn't work, a DC 15 Heal check reveals they're still alive, detect undead reveals nothing, etc.

The concern being that players tend not to question the "obvious" as in:
"They're obviously zombies, turn them!"
*zap* "Hmm... didn't work."
"They're obviously bolstered by the evil of this place."
"Hmm. Yeah. I hack 'em down with my greatsword. They only get a partial action anyhow."

You need to give a hint or two that something different is going on here. Otherwise they'll think it's just a town of undead and start hacking away. You don't have to beat them with the clue bat, but give them a few nudges.

2) Why did the cult do this? The Tanbrosh thing is a method of control so no one in Rastor gets out of line and begins to question what the cult is up to. But in your scenario, I don't know why the cult would do this. Are they enslaving the population? If so, using a drug that drains all their ability scores seems illogical. With everyone helpless, the cult must expend a lot of effort and resources to feed and care for these people. Why?? Are they going to use them in some sort of ritual? And where ARE the caretakers? It can't be just this one guy who feeds everyone, can it?

It's a cool scene, but I think you need to decide what the cult's purpose is and that will bring the rest of the encounter into focus. The real question you want your players to answer is not "what are these creatures - people or zombies?" The surprise moment should be a discovery like "hey, these creatures are people - who are being disemboweled and fed to a shoggoth!"

-Thrommel, caretaker in the shoggoth petting zoo. (Please don't feed the Byakhee.)

~Council of Magisters~
~ Arcana Unearthed ~

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