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LostSoul
Memunite
(10/23/03 4:13 pm)
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Boosting Role-Playing
I've been looking the adventure over, and I think there are some great opportunities for role-playing experience in the CRM. Basically, it boils down to allowing the PCs to get the "inside scoop" on what's going on in the mines, through either one of the entrance leaders.

Main Gate & Mereclar: Mereclar thinks that he's the man, but even he knows that he's got to pump up his forces to be able to spread his influence. As such, he really wants to recruit powerful characters to his side.
When the PCs approach the Main Gate, it's shut and locked. Sure, the PCs can bust in or sneak in, but why not just knock? This will summon Mereclar to the door, where he opens a spyhole and talks with them. "What do you want?" "Who are you?" etc. Eventually, he should get the hint - these are powerful people and fighting them would be a waste of time. He has to worry that they are part of another Temple/Bridge faction, but other than that... even Good PCs are useful to him.
In order to test the PCs, he'll give them access to the mines if they do something for him (at whatever task - perhaps recruiting Vranthis, or attacking one of the other factions, or grabbing some more recruits, or whatever). If the PCs do this for him, he considers them allies and sets them up in the Main Gate as his main "advisors". First order of business: kill Terrenygit so he doesn't ally the gate with the Earth Temple.
As the PCs advance, have Mereclar bond with some, hate others, and fear them all. He can see their power and potential might challenge his position as the Gatekeeper, so he's going to try and keep the PCs under his thumb.

This lets the PCs get into what's going on in the Mines, and then the PCs can decide what to do. Make things a lot more active - perhaps there are rumours about D'Gran returning with a load of Trolls from the Troll cave. Now's the time to hit him, when D'Gran is gone and before he gets all that extra muscle. These kind of "adventures" could take the place of the usual explore/kill what we find CRM dungeon crawl.

And, as always, there's the Doomdreamers - who may, at times, wish to speak with the PCs...


Anybody else have ideas about how to work a ton of RP into the CRM?

arcane12
Memunite
(10/23/03 5:15 pm)
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Re: Boosting Role-Playing
There is quite a few ways, but it boils down to your party. (Oh and IIRC the main gates aren't locked unless the area is on alert ;) ) With my parties, one group shoots first asks questions... if they get beat ;) The other party actually use a bit of roleplaying to get around - but usually only long enough to work their way into a tactically superior (or inferior ;) ) position from where they attack (when the Barbarian gets bored of 'all this chatting')

If the party wear temple colours/symbols (and the correct ones!) gaurds are more likey to not attack, and depending on what the pc's say (obviously good PC's, especially a Paladin will not opt to serve a dark lord by doing evil acts) the clerics and other leaders may be willing to allow the PC's to continue on (obviously if they recognise a superior force they will be interested in keeping their own hides ontact) or even attempt to recruit them, either into the ranks, or just to do small tasks (quests :) ).

Off the top of my head the only area I can think of this not working would be in the earth temple as they pretty much attack any non-trogs. However most other areas have their little problems (fire temple want rid of the orcs for easy access to bridge, air temple clerics don't see eye to eye, air bridge cut off from the world...etc) so a little expendible muscle would come in handy- if they succeed good for them and if they fail, no skin off the employer's nose :)

LostSoul
Memunite
(10/24/03 1:57 pm)
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yep
Yeah, the Main Gates aren't usually locked. But I know that if I were a madman, living with madmen, working with madmen, I'd lock those gates up nice and tight. This gives the PCs a chance to speak with the guards rather than just whacking away first chance they get.

The Earth temple would be a great enemy, since they are so strange. Tessimon might make a good "love" interest for one of the (morally loose) PCs.

There are a ton of possible plots that you can work in the CRM as the various factions fight with each other. The big trick is getting the PCs to bite the hook. Once they do, you can have a little war of assasins.

Infiniti2000
Cherub
(10/24/03 5:04 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: yep
That's the big problem I have, and probably everyone else will have: get the players to talk first. They finally did and I am having fun trying to convince them to join up with one temple only to attack another, and then do it again with the other temple. I'd suggest finding a better use for Kadiss and Reokallitan because both are useless where they are. The group will NEVER get to Kadiss while he is on the tracks. They will always fight the water temple first. Similarly, the ET will be wiped out long before the party sets their eyes on Reokallitan.

Having Mereclar suggest the party kills Terrenygit is a great idea. He might even have them make forays into the south once that is done, hopefully doing away with Marlgran and Vranthis, who in turn want the party to do away with the howler (their only really threat in that direction). If the party comes across Fachish/Choranth early, there's a lot of good RP, and some particularly vile ideas. Fachish might also want to get the party to help recruit Vranthis (no combat even needed if done right), to help fight, say, the Water Temple. Vranthis, with his water breathing would be a great asset on an attack against the WT.

Eeridik might see the party as a potential source of arcane knowledge. He might be a loner, but he is not one to pass up information. Maybe he can convince the mages in the party to help with the summoning circle.

Invariably, though, most RP ideas will depend heavily on individual parties.

ZansForCans 
Cherub
(10/24/03 7:25 pm)
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Re: yep
Quote:
Invariably, though, most RP ideas will depend heavily on individual parties.


@%!#%#!$# paladin...:rolleyes And a hothead one too... She's my biggest worry, although the rest of the party wants RP encounters and tries to suppress her, um, urges.


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Cordo Crowfoot
Cherub
(10/25/03 4:45 am)
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Re: yep
Quote:
I'd suggest finding a better use for Kadiss and Reokallitan because both are useless where they are. The group will NEVER get to Kadiss while he is on the tracks. They will always fight the water temple first. Similarly, the ET will be wiped out long before the party sets their eyes on Reokallitan.
Actually that's absolutely not the case in my campaign. ;) My players went counter-clockwise from the main gate and haven't stopped, so faced Reokallitan before taking on the earth temple (it was destroyed days later by another party, but they don't know this) and met Kadiss out on the tracks before encountering the water temple proper. Of course due to the group's history with the water temple Kadiss immediately knew who they are (but acted as if he didn't).

As for the greater thread, I think they are some good ideas. However, I don't think Mereclar would ask the players to assassinate Terrenygit unless they had already worked together a bit and he had built up a bit of trust with them. Otherwise it puts him in too weak of a position if the party decides to tell Terrenygit about his duplicity. It's an interesting idea though because Mereclar would definitely want to set things up to where it seemed he wasn't clearly responsible. Having him and the party brainstorm on an assassination plan could be interesting.

Just busting in on him while he is in his room could be dangerous, as he is only a short dash from the two Trog guards who could easily take word back to the earth temple.

LostSoul
Memunite
(10/26/03 9:49 am)
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Mereclar vs. Terrenygit
You're probably right... Mereclar wouldn't just want to take out the Trog if he can't get the PCs on his side to back him up against a Main Gate/Earth Temple scrap. But if the PCs are on his side, well...

If anything suspicious happens to Terrenygit, the trogs are going to suspect Mereclar (the wretched half-breed). While the PCs could set up an "accident", it's not going to make much difference to those insane, paranoid troglodytes.

If they're really smart, they'll try to get Terrenygit to have a run-in with one of the other temples or beasties that roam around the CRM. Then they can have a meeting with a trog envoy in a neutral place, where the trog can put up a Zone of Truth - and the PCs can say that no, we didn't kill Terrenygit. And then jump the bastard. ;)

However, once the PCs start to gain power & influence/reputation (ie. gain levels), Mereclar is going to have to do something about them or he's going to wind up a servant of the PCs at best, dead at worst. So we might even see Mereclar joining forces with the Earth Temple (or whatever faction the PCs are working against at the time) to squash the PCs.

Quidam
Memunite
(10/26/03 8:12 pm)
Reply
Vranthis the Mighty
IMC, just as the party started to explore the mines in earnest, they came up against Vranthis. Who was just a bit too much for them. He chased them out of the mines and as they sat on a sandbar in the Stalagos, flesh still hissing from the acid, dirty rain pouring down on them, he burst out of the water, wheeled above and landed on the inner rim of the crater to parlay.

It was that or get sizzled, so the party parlayed. One way to get them to talk when they tend not to talk *first*.

He recognized them as not belonging to any of the temples and so recruited the party to accept the offer of the kuo-toa (which he'd overheard- what a listen modifier!) but to leave behind a present at the water temple when the strike team leaves for the fire temple- the girallon trap.

The party did it- and successfully helped the water temple destroy the fire temple's altar... Things were just starting to fall down around their ears when we switched campaigns to one in which I'm a player.

msherman
Kalkydrite
(10/27/03 7:31 am)
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Re: Vranthis the Mighty
Quidam, do you plan to pick rtttoee back up again, or did you kill it off for good? If the latter, why?

LostSoul
Memunite
(10/27/03 4:23 pm)
Reply
Vranthis
Nice work with Vranthis. I went looking through the stats, and Vranthis should be one of the strongest political factions in the temple - everyone wants to recruit him, he's got good Int & Cha (14 each, I think), and a +14 Diplomacy. So he could ally himself with the PCs in hopes of taking over the entire CRM for himself.

Of course, this means he's going to run up against the DoomDreamers. At that point, you're going to have to decide if Vranthis wants to join with Tharizdun (gaining Cleric levels) or if he wants to end up a big pile of Destruction'd ash.

D'Gran and Rui Lotas are two other potent political forces - each of them has 18 Int and high Cha scores (19 for D'Gran, 14 - I think - for the Barghest). I figure that D'Gran roams the other temples in "disguise" - as a polymorphed human guard - in order to spy on them.

As the book says, Aarlinth is jealous of Eeridik and wants his position. With his 18 Cha, he shouldn't have too much of a problem convincing Tessimon (his lover) to support him in this. This would be good for our Lady of Fire, too, since she'll have an ally in him (or so she thinks).

Cordo Crowfoot
Cherub
(10/27/03 7:26 pm)
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Re: Mereclar vs. Terrenygit
Quote:
You're probably right... Mereclar wouldn't just want to take out the Trog if he can't get the PCs on his side to back him up against a Main Gate/Earth Temple scrap. But if the PCs are on his side, well...
Good points. I'll be looking forward to reading about this in your campaign log. ;) If you can pull all this off well it should be a great reference for how to spice up the CRM.

Just to clarify my point, I'm just saying that Mereclar might give them several smaller jobs first, i.e. take care of the basalisk or take care of the ettin before revealing his true treacherous desire.

Quidam
Memunite
(10/28/03 12:33 am)
Reply
yeah
We're going to pick that campaign up again down the road. We switch DM's occasionally so we all get a chance to play. The campaign is actually a hybrid homebrew/Freeport/RttToEE. Picture fire mephits flying in V formation over Freeport, dropping alchemists fire and conjure-bombs. In response to the attacks, an alchemical substance was devised to give cloth & wood substanstial resistance to fire- the coated object takes on a gleaming black sheen. Hence the campaign's current name, "Evenstar Tides & the Black Sails War". The mines are on an island outside the Serpent's Teeth that I've based on Maui. The Evenstar is the pirate ship they took from the orcs in the first Freeport adventure.

I can't wait for them to meet up with the air temple. Everyone they've spoken to so far in the CRM dismisses the air temple as not worth thinking about- not really in the running. I'm going to do some boosting in the air temple- that belief by the members of the other temples will have been by design. But I could go on. I'll save it for the log when we take it up again...:rolleyes

Infiniti2000
Cherub
(10/28/03 6:27 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
D'Gran
"I figure that D'Gran roams the other temples in "disguise" - as a polymorphed human guard - in order to spy on them."

That's a subtle, yet great idea on D'Gran. Let's say the party is taking on another area and suddenly one of the guards breaks formation and flees. What will the party do? Hopefully they will try to talk to him, but I'd bet the party mage will fire a full volley of magic missiles into the bad guy, only to have him NOT drop! Not much of a chance for RP, but it would certainly make the encounter more interesting, and it would provide for a more interesting encounter later, particularly if D'Gran is polymorphed again at another area where the party is parlaying..."Don't listen to them, Kellial, they'll just fire magic missiles into you when your back is turned!"

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