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Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/25/04 12:15 am)
Another twist on RttToEE in the Forgotten Realms
First off, I would like to thank all of those that have contributed to this board! It is the reason that I have felt comfortable enough to attempt to run the RttToEE module in 3.5 rules. You've all done a superb job! Congratulations and THANK YOU! I should say thanks to each of you by name but I'd be afraid I'd leave someone out. (You know who are, just know that it's appreciated!)

I have been extremely impressed with the level of support and genuine interest that has been shown toward each other on this board. (Yes... I've been lurking for awhile.... yet this is only my second post.)

If you are interested, I will be making additional posts here as to where I have been recently in getting to take on this module and what I hope to accomplish as 'yet another crazy DM' trying to run this adventure....

If you have no interest... then you should've stopped at the last paragraph... If you continue, be warned... it may be really boring.... but any support or suggestions as I go along will be most appreciated as it helps to actually have someplace to bounce ideas around with peers/DMs.

I am starting a new campaign with my players next month. We just 'ended', actually 'suspended indefinitely' an EPIC campaign that I was having difficulty getting a handle on. We moved from 2nd Edition to 3E about half way through the 4 year campaign so the time to convert everything over and try and understand everything in the new ruleset was becoming overtaxing on my time. The players really felt like they got 'nerfed' in 3E from their 2E characters. So the whole experience started to sour to a degree. At any rate, in the middle of that then came 3.5. (We were all very stubborn to move over to 3E... only after they saw how the ruleset was implemented in NWN did we feel confident enough to try it) So we had all just recently bought 3E books etc. So it was rather disappointing.... Thank goodness for the SRD! I'll stop on that issue before it turns into a blabbering rant...

So.... here's what I'm thinking of doing. I'm having each of the 5 players roll/role up 5 characters. Everything will be according to 3.5 rules (unless it's obvious 3.0 rules were better on a case by case instance) They are all starting at 1st level. They can only have 2 characters of the same class. (this is so if they really want to have a certain class they have a better opportunity to play it) I want them to become familiar with the new rules and the broader options 3.5E gives over 2E. I've left it up to them to decide the mixture of the classes in the party and told them that if they don't have enough diversity in the ranks, it's their issue. They will only be able to play one character at a time of course, but they will also level all 5 of them up as the one character that is playing is leveled so in the case that character dies, they'll have a replacement character ready to go.

I am placing the campaign world in Forgotten Realms as I am using story threads still from the aforementioned, 'Epic Campaign'. I'm not the biggest fan of FR, but it's got enough good material that I am familiar with that I don't have time to make up on my own and I can manipulate it well enough to suit my needs. So I am going to have to modify things to a good degree as to physical location and a lot of the background story to make it fit... But will still be keeping the 'flavor' and a large amount of the content of the module. So if you don't know Realmslore the next part may be confusing to you... (and for that I apologize in advance) In the ending of the previous campaign, the heroes failed to stop Sammaster from apotheosis. Sammaster usurped the portfolio of Velashoon and became a demigod in his own right. He is now going to be able to grant spells to Cult of the Dragon clerics.

Okay... now here's the twist. Sammaster started the Cult of the Dragon after being destroyed and then brought back and influenced by an evil priest named Algashon and his influence helped steer him towards madness. (hmmm... Anyone seeing a possible link here?) The Cult of the Dragon 2E resource book can be downloaded free from WotC's download page if you're interested in the background story in full detail. Quoting from it "Algashon's spell also had another effect on Sammaster. It obliterated any last vestige of sanity and morality that may have remained in his clouded mind and tortured spirit."

Sammaster was defeated by an Avatar of Lathander in the past but rose again as a Lich approx. 300 years later, but was again defeated by a Company of Paladins...

So what I am thinking to do is have Algashon be unwittingly or wittingly have been influenced by the EEE/Tharizdun. The prophetic key passage that started Sammaster out on this idea to create the Cult of the Dragon had been retranslated by him to read as "And naught will be left save shattered thrones with no rulers. But the dead dragons shall rule the world entire, and.... " is all that is said in the official sourcebook... I am adding in "and... only the elements will remain steadfast." (or some such). In the Cult's history there arose a schism between the followers of Aglashon and the more 'pragmatic' group. The pragmatic group won out in the end, but my thought is to make the vestiges of the Aglashon group become the Cult of Tharizdun. (although only very few will know it) Algashon's group will have interpreted the rest of the prophetic text to see the need to bring about the Temple of Elemental Evil and that will have been what was defeated in the past when Sammaster arose again as a Lich. But very little is known about that incident, even in 'official' realmslore.

So this allows me to continue using the Cult of the Dragon (just a different branch of it) as a nemesis for my group. (Which they loved to hate) and still use the module largely as written. I will have distance and travel issues dealt with by and large, introducing 'portals' (which the realms are full of) as the PCs will come across in their adventuring that will allow vast distances to be travelled earlier in the game before teleportation spells and the like are accessible.

I will post up later where I am placing things in the Realms, but for starters let me say (as it stands at the moment): Ashabenford = Hommlet (good call on that one) Mines of Tethyamar = CRM

More to follow.....

*edited header to reflect content better.

Edited by: SirJalore at: 1/29/04 3:19 pm
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/25/04 6:15 am)
Forgotton Realms
Welcome! It's always great to have another DM join the forces of the Hivemind. It'll be interesting to have another Forgotten Realms campaign as well...I hope you'll be starting a log.

One of the questions I always find I have to deal with with the Forgotton Realms is what keeps the major players from intervening. To me, there are two explanations. One is flat out jadedness toward "planet-killer" threats. I mean, this is the Realms, the milieu that has us wondering what the plural of "apocalypse" is. The other is that, IMC, the Cult of Tharizdun is bigger than the ToAC and is flexing its muscles of intrigue to stir up trouble all over the Realms as a distraction. In any event, if your players are FR fans, eventually you're going to need a reason why the PC's can't just go tattle to Elminster.

I'm not sure if the CR's work out right, but if they do, can you replace the half-dragon, half-tyrannasaurs with one or two dracoliches? I think that would be interesting for your Cult of the Dragon take.

Good luck and again, welcome to the boards.

Brother of Venom
(1/26/04 2:58 am)

Re: Forgotton Realms
Welcome, indeed! I have only a passing acquaintance with FR, but here's what I did in my Greyhawk campaign, which also has its share of uber-characters.

They were basically diverted, which at higher levels meant that they simply weren't around to help the PCs. And at lower levels? C'mon if Elminster took house calls from single-digit level PCs, he'd need to clone himself twenty times over.

Besides, he's Chosen, right? So I guyess he figures that if something really big slips under his personal radar (such as the Temple of All-Consumption - DM fiat) then Mystra will give him a heads-up, right (wrong because... well in the Module as Written because Big T. has a major non-detection thing going. In your case... I need to take some ranks in Knowledge (Realmslore)).

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/26/04 2:34 pm)
Re: Forgotten Realms
Thanks for the welcome! I do plan on doing a log, but seeing as it will be non-RttToEE content for some time it may note be of much interest. :b

Well as far as those uber big characters/deities in the FR that would be able avert something about of this magnitude, I actually think they would be unaware of the big T. Grumgarr, (thanks Grumgarr) in another thread went with this idea "You might consider the idea that the other gods think of big T as a 'dead god' and that they have a kind of blind spot - they can't see what he's up to, or even that he's still active (actively trying to destroy reality, including all the gods!).
That's why the general belief among those who even know of him at all is that he can't grant spells, but it's mistaken. He's very real, his power is very real - it's just very well hidden. Divinations asking other gods about big T don't work find out about his cult and its goals you have to witness it first hand. This also explains why the epic characters of your game world don't come running and stop the cult. They just don't know the world's under threat.

With my idea of a splinter faction of the Cult of the Dragon that I am using being a different group that has remained hidden from the rest of the world, wouldn't really attract at first the attention of the likes of Elminster etc, as if they did come across any part of them, they would think it was the 'mainstream' Cult of the Dragon. (if you can call them 'mainstream':lol ) and believe them beneath their personal notice. When the time comes that the party realizes the severity of the situation, there won't be time to go warn anyone like Elminster for example , and even if they do think of it, they will not have come in contact with him before, so they have no way to get an audience with him (or anyone else of that level) and they won't find him at home anyway.

In addition, with Sammaster taking over the portfolio of Velashoon, a lot of the deities/uber characters will be very concerned and have their attention diverted by the 'mainstream' Cult. As Sammaster will be attempting to assist the Doomdreamers as he is 'mad' as well and wants to free big T as he believes that it will end all of his suffering and destroy all those he blames for it. He will be having the 'mainstream' group use all of their resources to keep them busy around Faerun. (One Idea I had was to have The 'mainstream' Cult (I really don't know what else to call it:\ ), according to the Lords of Darkness book, have gotten their hands on a Dragon Graveyard place and that is where they will start to be able to unleash all sorts of undead dragon creatures and the ilk.)

Thanks JRG, for the dracolich idea. I have been toying with that. Essentially, you take the base dragon and add 3 to the CR when they take the dracolich template, so I'll see what level of dracolich might work there. Or how bad would it be to make Chymon a Dracolich?

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions, they are always welcome.

Edited by: SirJalore at: 1/26/04 5:14 pm
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