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[D&D 4E Campaign] The God of Carnage

AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriumsPlateau of LengRegistered User regular
edited June 2008 in Critical Failures
This is a campaign, over time I will update the thread with a series of modules that you may use as you see fit for whatever reason (many of these will fit into a campaign completely unrelated to this one). The entire campaign will be designed for players from 1st level to 30th level, across a world torn by the armies of a mad man who believes himself a reincarnated God of Life.

There are a few assumptions many modules make:

1) This is low magic at first and the magic level creeps up over time. Due to the rampant war (there is nowhere at peace) magic items are not sold anywhere except by the incredibly brave or by very out of the way merchants...some of whom are very large, very ancient and profiting very much from the war...

2) The campaign has a distinct horror theme and has no large civilised cities left. Everywhere is either under siege, being massacred, destroyed with only a few [paranoid] inhabitants or fleeing. Most people are nomadic, setting up large refugee camps that routinely get upended by the approaching armies of Taer'khan. Central government is a non-issue as one of Taer'khans first massacres was the Imperial Capital in 589 UE (Unified Era, before 0 is pre-unification or PU) by his armies after returning from the South. The attack was completely by surprise, with his army effectively butchering the entire central government, the monarchy and the racial representatives that kept the peace. The result was complete chaos (this event will be described in more detail).

3) The campaign starts in 630 UE, though many citizens of the world regard this as 41 DA (Or 41 years since the start of the Dark Age).

4) All modules are designed with the complete chaos around in mind. It's not easy for players to routinely buy or maintain stocks of any magic items (even healing potions are exceedingly hard to buy). Because of this, most modules have a higher level of difficulty for a party in this actual campaign than they would if an individual module is taken out of the campaigns overall context (all encounters with creatures with special immunities to non-magical weapons have increased EL).

A brief history of the Empire.

The cradle of civilisation

From the rise of sentient life, four great races and their associated nations came to prominence in the world Imial: The Elves of the great forests of the west, mankind around the infinitely deep central lake Maiden, Dragonkind from the endless northern desert wastes and the Dwarves from the mineral rich eastern mountain ranges. For centuries, alliances ebbed and flowed with the winds of power between each of the four races but Mankind, with his prominent position in the center, soon gained the most influence. Despite this influence one thing became clear to the monarchs of mankind through the ages: when war came to any race it was the nation of man who felt it most. Armies of Dragonkind, Elves or Dwarves could only reach one another by going through mans territory.

In 22 PU came the devastating destruction of Alberg, a small village, on the border of the Elven/Man nation by a Dragonborn and Elven army that met near the river it was situated. Though not involved in the two nations war, the human villagers became targets simply because of their unfortunate position between the two armies. Wizard, warlocks and other spellcasters made no differentiation between the flickering banners of the opposing army or destroying buildings being used by cowering peasants to deny any tactical advantage to the enemy. The massacre shocked and angered the entire human population, but the ruling monarch of humanity, Lord Desmond Devoir, rose above petty feelings of anger or hate.

A skilled politician and kind leader, he recognised that such endless warring between all nations merely weakened all involved and turned mankinds lands routinely into battlegrounds. With this, he called the leaders of the three other races nations to him in the name of peace to put forward a council between them and mediate peace. Though the Dragonkind and Elves turned up with ulterior motives to curry favour with the human regent and promote him to join their war on their side, Lord Devoir outmaneuvered them by taking no interest in placing blame. To the stunned leaders of the other nations, he used all the diplomacy, cunning and experience he had to put forward a case for unification. One large, glorious empire spanning the entire known northern world, one people, one voice and the sharing of the known worlds current resources. Importantly, he appealed for an end to the wars that had divided and embittered them for so long.

For eight years, the other three races considered the offer from the humans and inevitably, Lord Devoirs offer to attempt such a system was accepted. They agreed to form a temporary alliance, with a member of each race forming a ruling council and a two-hundred seat parliament controlled in equal parts from lords of each race. Although opposition and skepticism was rife within initially, not the least the human population who feared the other races taking advantage of their new power to invade Devoirs gamble paid off. 22 years after the historic council, the Great Empire became official and every race now consolidated its power in the former capital of humanity, renamed to Devoir in honor of the man who united the known world. Parades were held in every city, by every race and so began the golden age that would stand for 500 years as all four races ruled equally in peace.

The beginning of the end

Although peace and prosperity had reigned for 500 years, the Great Empire began to be besieged from the barbarian hordes of the north, Orcs across the eastern mountains and worse things that could cross the previously thought impassable Southern arctic wastes. Besieged on all sides and despite its vast size, population and power, the enemies determination and relentless attacks began to divide the previously united races. Concepts of unity and working together, that for years had prevented such incursions from becoming a problem began to break down over squabbling as to what threat deserved the most attention. Although the Elves remained largely neutral, the bitter arguments of the other three most affected races began to become chronic divides and less got done.

The people suffered. In the north, barbarian hordes began to rout the disorganised and improperly supported Imperial armies. Ancient burial grounds and spawning regions of the Dragonkind were destroyed by the rampaging invaders. In the east, Orc hordes besieged and took over dwarf mines and fortresses, gaining numerous Dwarven artifacts and driving the Dwarves from their ancestral homes. In the south, armies of strange creatures from the unknown southern arctic wastes murdered whole villages at random and then disappeared as soon as they arrived. Amongst such chaos, the citizens of the Empire ceased to look to their leaders and they prayed for a hero.

And a hero is what they got.

Taer'khan [Tier - Ka - aan] was a Dragonborn who rapidly rose to prominence within the Imperial army for his heroism and incredible leadership against the northern barbarians. His first, among many, examples of heroism was when his battalion commander was slain in battle, he took command of the rag-tag group of soldiers that were left and successfully broke through the barbarian armies double encirclement to safety. His exploits, combined with the utter desperation of the Imperial armies generals, earned him the position to lead an army of his own and his first mission was to defend the sacred burial ground of Dak'thanis, a mere 10,000 in number. When he saw the approaching barbarian army, one of the greatest hordes ever assembled in the north numbering some 200,000 or more in number he did not flinch. Where another commander may have despaired or even fled, Taer'khan held his resolve and ordered his army to march towards the barbarians.

Although the barbarians had superior numbers and were skilled in battle, none anticipated the ability of Taer'khan in fighting. Peerless in melee combat, Taer'khan butchered his way straight through the barbarian hordes towards their leader. Upon meeting one another upon the battlefield, there was no true fight, with Taer'khan breaking his opponents kneecap and then tearing off his head with his bare hand. The result of seeing their warlord so easily slain by Taer'khan spread fear and confusion throughout the entire barbarian horde. Inspired, the soldiers of Taer'khan fought more viciously and determined than ever before, slaying the barbarians with impunity. Their opponents attack stunning them and the effects of the loss of their leader, the barbarians broke and fled.

Not one barbarian escaped.

With the crushing victory at Dak'thanis, the Imperial generals rapidly fell into line behind Taer'khan and he was able to assemble nearly all of the forces available in the north to him. With a greater army, Taer'khan began a march of slaughter and death to any barbarian army that stood before him. He marched his army into the north, slaughtering anyone who opposed him without mercy and his armies followed suit. Barbarian villages were burnt down and their inhabitants massacred regardless of age, sex and even if they were wounded. Taer'khan accepted no surrender and fought with the fury of a creature possessed. From his armies, there was no escape and no mercy. Within 10 years, he had completely ended the barbarian threat and was under complete control of all northern Imperial armies. Within months, Taer'khan moved south and east to engage the seemingly never ending Orcs.

As before with the barbarians, Taer'khan was a brutal and cunning leader. As before, Taer'khan accepted no surrender and comprehensively defeated the Orc armies. As before, seemingly none could escape from his armies blades no matter how fast they ran or where they hid. As before, he brutally slaughtered all Orcs before him and never ceased. By the end of the campaign against the Orc, Taer'khan was not merely a hero, he was actively worshipped by the people of the Imperium for his uncountable acts of Heroism.

Upon his arrival to the center of power in the Empire, he was invited into the Imperial capital Devoir to a resounding welcome and parade. He was offered land, gold, riches of the Empire beyond anyones wildest imagination and, before a crowd of more than a million who had come from every corner of the empire just for a glance upon him, he turned it all down. He proclaimed, to universal cheers from the adoring populace, that as long as a single enemy of the Empire lived he could not accept anything he was offered. To this end, he proclaimed that he would personally end the final remaining thread to his beloved Empire: the strange incursions from the south arctic wastes where no army had successfully ever gone. To this end, he raised the largest army in all of recorded history. More than a million strong from everywhere across the Empire flocked to his banner and Taer'khan marched them forth to engage the enemy from the south.

The campaign in the south was not to be like those he had fought previously. Unlike the barbarians or orcs, the armies responsible for the incursions were not easily engaged. Frustrated, Taer'khan concluded the only way of stopping the assaults was to find where they came from and he ordered a forced march into the southern arctic waste. Amongst the snow, ice and mountains in 545 EU more than 35 years since Taer'khans rise to prominence the attacks from the south ceased. Once more the Great Empire was at peace.

But of the inspirational general who saved the Great Empire from destruction as it lay assailed from all sides, nobody had heard or seen.

The disappearance and reemergence of Taer'khan

In 545 Taer'khan had disappeared into the wastes to end the last great threat to the Empire and while he had seemingly succeeded, the attacks had ceased, of the general himself there was no word. In 550, five years since the disappearance of Taer'khan and his army, an Empire wide month of mourning was declared and for one month the Empire almost stood still. Even with such proof before them, there were many who refused to give up hope and many bands of adventurers would travel south into the wastes to search for the general or his men. None ever returned and soon, people began to forget about Taer'khan and his army over daily realities. Until one frost covered morning in 589, a farm boy spotted a huge column of troops emerging from the icy mists near the arctic wastes and roused the other villagers.

Fearful at first, such fear rapidly turned to wild celebration as the locals realised the hero of the Empire, Taer'khan had returned and with his army fully intact! Taer'khan and his army directly marched towards the capital of the Empire, with adoring crowds running alongside. The thundering sound of the approaching army could be heard for miles around and it never ceased for rest, food or water. As if propelled forward by some unknown force, they reached the capital, ordinarily more than two weeks march from the furthest southern border town in a mere five days. With much gratitude, they were let into the gates of the city and the army filled through with Taer'khan reaching the Imperial governmental palace at its head.

Upon reaching the primary audience chamber where the reagents of each race sat, the Elf, Dragonkind and Dwarf representatives - having lived for much longer than any man and remembered Taer'khan from his previous audience immediately got a feeling of imminent dread. As if they had just invited the wolf to the sheeps flock without even realising it. When they asked where Taer'khan had been and what happened, there was silence from the armoured figure. His scales had been blackened to that of coal, his armour even in the warmly heated palace was covered in every changing crystals of ice and it appeared to be a living entity unto itself, seemingly shifting about of its own accord. Eventually, after a prolonged silence, Taer'khan spoke:

I am Father.

Do not fear me, for your life is merely a piece of my own that I have granted you in a time long past the memories of living things. Your approaching death should not be feared as an end, but a returning into me as a drop of rain will return inevitably to the ocean from that it is spawned. Do not resist and this will be short, merely kneel before me and I will make your return the joyous occasion that it should be. You will realise the beauty of being reunited with your one true creator.

Resist and I shall ensure that I break every bone in your mewling weak body for resisting the generous offer I give you now, decide shortly. Long ago, I was once the beginning of all that will be and I am now the end of all that was.

I am life. You are a part of me and I desire it back.


Upon uttering these words, within the city walls, Taer'khans army set upon the Imperial populace in an orgy of destruction and killing. The cities defenders, utterly unprepared for any attack were incapable of putting up any resistance and were swept aside like wheat to a scythe. Of the leaders of the Empire, none can say except that the screams were heard for many hours into the night before they finally ceased. Few survived the burning of Devoir but Taer'khans army did not come for conquest. Once news of the heads of the Imperial government had been slaughtered reached other cities, disbelief was the initial response followed by horror and soon despair. Those brave enough to form a small band and marched towards Devoir found it utterly destroyed and the no living people in the city itself. Of Taer'khan and his army, there was no sign and even where it had went was unknown.

Although the massacre of the city was horrific enough, there was to be a new and equally chilling result. Of those who had been slain, within days they would rise again from their graves, as hideously mangled and wretched as they died, hungering only for the flesh of those still living. The "awoken mortes" as they to be known, began to flow outwards destroying and draining the countryside of life. Green pastures turned into cracked and broken wastelands, rivers blackened and their flow slowed as they became choked with a black sickly substance. Thousands either starved to death from the lack of food or water, or committed suicide through either desperation or choice by drinking the brackish sludge like water.

Taer'khan was not through, for his armies appeared time and time again. Emerging from the expanding darkness over the land and marching on any foolish enough to oppose him. Time and time again, he would issue the same proclaimation, that those who wished could bow before him and be slain quickly and painlessly. Those who resisted would be broken first and killed only when their agony grew to such a degree they would beg for his mercy. Once more, the massacred populace would rise from the dead and the land around would wither, choke and die.

And so Taer'khan began a great crusade and where once an adoring populace flocked to his banner to fight a just war, hordes of evil things flocked to his banner including Kobalds, Daemons of all descriptions and yet more of the black armoured grim Dragonkind that had appeared with Taer'khan from when he emerged from the arctic wastes.

It had taken years to build the Great Empire and Taer'khan took merely weeks to tear it down. With their leaders dead and Taer'khans armies ability to appear from nowhere, slaughter whoever they found and disappear once more, chaos and disorder run rampant. Death cults have spawned up, those who truly believe Taer'khan to be the mediator of the apocalypse, appealing for those who would sacrifice themselves to "Father" to try and appease him.

None have succeeded. Taer'khan remains undefeated in battle and the very sight of his army inspires dread and fear. The Great Empire, unlike ever before, stands at the very brink of complete annihilation and perhaps even the world. Once again, people beg the Gods for a hero.

Perhaps again, their prayers will be answered.

The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    DM information about Taer'khan, setting stuff, mood, pacing etc I'll place here when those sections are done.

    First module [almost finished] will be posted after that.

    Edit: I forgot, there is a world map but it's not fully done either. I'll amend it to one of these posts eventually.

    Edit2: FUCK IT. It logged me out and I accidentally clicked "cancel changes" without realising and lost the whole lot. God dammit. Won't be making that mistake again, sigh.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    VoraciousAardvarkVoraciousAardvark Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Thank god someone is doing something with a horror theme. It seems like Heroes of Horror kind of came out and flew under the radar for a lot of people, and it had some really good ideas in it. I like the EL balancing based around low magic, it shows you put some extra thought in. Really good fluff, it was a nice read. Keep up the good work.

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    A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    That's quite cool. I really enjoy the destroyed society theme to it. The lack of magic items, or the rarity rather, is nice as well.

    A Dabble Of Thelonius on
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    That's quite cool. I really enjoy the destroyed society theme to it. The lack of magic items, or the rarity rather, is nice as well.

    It's not for the whole campaign, probably for the starting part (levels 1-12) and then magical items creep back into the game. The players do eventually have to fight the servants of the "God of Carnage"*, which requires magical items as his army is immune to regular weapons. Buying magical weapons is almost completely impossible.

    *Or maybe he's just a nut. Or a puppet. Who knows.
    I like the EL balancing based around low magic, it shows you put some extra thought in.

    I have an obsession with game balance and being as fair as possible. If I take something away, I make sure to compensate for it by say, not making resistant enemies appear everywhere.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Gameworld.

    A shattered world and divided people stand at the very brink of annihilation.

    There is no hope.

    There is no salvation.

    There is nobody to protect these people.

    They know only fear, despair, hunger and loss.

    This is a time for Heroes.

    Setting

    In God of Carnage, the world of Imial faces a threat that ascends race, creed or nationality. A former hero once thought lost has returned and in a great betrayal, began a crusade of carnage stretching across one end of the most populace nation, the Great Empire, to the other. Everyone is on edge, despair permeates the population and bandits, the shambling dead and worse control most of the wild territories of the Empire. With the war going so badly against Taer’Khans army, there is virtually nobody enforcing law and order, so society has collapsed into a series of small communities.

    To the every-day person of the world, it is a cruel, cold and horrific place. The land itself rots and dies, preventing the cultivating of any crops and food begins to run scarce. Water becomes brackish and then turns into a dark ooze like substance that is poisonous to the touch, that can also rain from the sky (see “the Black Death” entry below). Without any law enforcement or means of establishing trade, the economy has collapsed and in many places gold is worthless. Instead many people barter for the things they need, after-all what good is gold to a man who is dead? Fresh water is a precious commodity, with water being worth more than gold ever could and control of the local well being more precious than any Dragons horde.

    Black Death

    Of the horrors Taer’Khan brought to the world, the brackish, dark ooze like water has been among the most horrifying. It is known to predicate the assaults of Taer’Khans armies, critically weakening defenders and poisoning the lands around where it falls. Any living thing foolish enough to come into contact with it starts to become necrotic, flesh and muscle turning black and dropping off in droves. Drinking it is simply suicide, with death coming after several agonizing and immensely slow minutes.

    Perhaps the worst effect of the Black Death and where it truly gets its namesake is its horrifying effects on the dead. Where it grants death to the living, it grants life to the dead: of a sort. Corpses of living things, even things that have been dead for a long time, that come into contact with the Black Death soon start to animate and claw their way from the grave. Once free, these shambling hordes attempt to seek out any living things around them and devour them. The people call them “awoken mortes” or the “awakened death” and where the armies of Taer’Khan do not finish off a cities inhabitants, the hordes of undead raised in the wake of their battles frequently do.

    The Black Death is also a hazard to anyone trying to travel any large distances. To be caught in the open during a storm of the stuff is to be as good as dead*. Those scholars who have analysed the rain suspect it’s a way of denying support or aid to isolated or besieged cities or fortresses. Either way, travel requires careful planning and places where shelter can be found readily available along the route. Even when this is considered, the rain raises forth the dead and where a route was once free of monsters, it can soon become crawling with hundreds of flesh hungry undead.

    Ruined cities

    People survive huddling in the dark praying to whatever God they believe, that the packs of undead wolves do not sniff out the cave they hide in for the night or that the Black Death does not seep into their ramshackle houses. All civilization has collapsed and rumour abounds of the armies of Taer’khan returning to finish the job routinely at many refugee camps. Such rumours often provoke wide-spread panic within the population, who frequently uproot rapidly and attempt to reach the next village. Many of these exercises, if truly Taer’khans army does bear down on them, are futile for the rumour often proves to be false or the refugees end up victim to the rampaging hordes of the dead or the rain.

    Many camps are built in the ruins of former vast metropolitan cities, once teeming with people, now virtually dead ghost towns with a few hundred inhabitants at most. Government and law are non-existent, with those who are able to bully or threaten the others into submission being in control. In some camps, individuals eat like kings while those around them starve to death or are claimed by the very beasts these self-described “lords” say they will protect people from. Many individuals have fallen to rapidly spreading cults, who preach messages of murder and suicide to appease the “God of Slaughter”.

    The final defeat of the Imperial army

    The armies of the Great Empire, once almost numberless, well trained and well equipped were shattered or broken like a child would break a clumsily made wooden toy. Their generals watched time and time again as the armies of Taer’Khan would drive them from the field and run them down. Battles against the dark army of the self-proclaimed God were usually never battles, they were more accurately described as one sided massacres. Early in the war, it was discovered that only weapons imbued with magic would even harm the strange, black armoured minions of Taer’Khan. As a result, Imperial generals after instituting martial law grabbed every magical weapon or item they could possibly find. At the battle of Ossuris field, an army fully equipped with the best magical weapons and armour available made a desperate last stand to save the three-hundred thousand citizens of Tobruk. It was the largest army that could be assembled and their resolve was firm, their magical items glowing brightly against the last of the morning darkness and for once there was hope.

    Then, the heavens opened.

    The entire Imperial army became drenched not with water, but a sickening black substance known as the Black Death. It seeped through even the best quality magical plate armour, it got into eyes, noses and even mouths. Even before the army of Taer’Khan emerged from the darkness as they always did, many in the Imperial army before them had succumbed. Realising their predicament, the Imperial generals ordered a full scale attack and their soldiers charged Taer’Khans army. This was to be the last and fatal major action of the Imperial army for the rest of the war. Time being against them, the commander of the Imperial army failed to account for the emerging shapes on the flanks of Ossuris field. With their reckless advance, they found themselves surrounded on three sides and Taer’Khan seized the opportunity to first outflank the charging army and then encircle it.

    Although magical weapons did prove effective and many of Taer’Khans servants fell before the Imperial blades, their numbers were ultimately legion. To strike one down merely meant another took its place in the line. As the soldiers tired, they were hacked or dragged down to their deaths or they succumbed to the Black Death. None of the wounded lasted very long as the sickening rain seeped into their wounds and saw to ensuring their final slow, agonizing death. Taer’Khan himself slain his opposite number, General Ansiolo, breaking the mans back with the first mighty blow of his hammer and then ripping his head off with the next. The victory roar of Taer’Khan ended what final opposition there was and the last of the Imperial army fell to the swarm.

    For those who remember that day, their last memories are often the smell of blood and the final horrified screams as the army advanced unopposed into Tobruk itself.

    *It’s worth noting, this is represented in game terms as a series of encounters, from light showers (EL 2-5) to medium rain (EL 5-10) to storms (EL 10-15) to the most dreaded type, hailstones (EL 15+) known to to punch through even the heaviest armour.

    Edit: Also, all of the above information and the information in the history is assumed to be fair for the players to know as well, after all, they are members of this hell-hole. Rain = bad.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    Pirate ViperPirate Viper Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    No joke Aegeri, this is one of the coolest sounding campaign ideas I've ever read. Good Job.

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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    First module, "Rising from the Dead" will be posted later today. This is one of two starting modules that you can choose to begin the campaign with. This one has an emphasis on the horror aspect of the game and is designed to confuse and isolate the players: but bring them together due to that isolation. It's not a typical start and while there are several reasons why players may be at the mass grave they buried with, it may not be palatable for all DMs/players. In this case, the second module in the refugee camp at South Tear is a better choice. The second module will have some extra material that covers EXP lost from not using the first module.

    Edit: Quite le tired! Will put something up tomorrow. Sorry guys, when I do something I do it right the first time :p

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    fadingathedgesfadingathedges Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    This is great, and the world has tons of parallels to mine. I will steal from you heavily *dance*

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    fadingathedgesfadingathedges Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Aegeri, how would you run a black rain encounter in game? I mean, is it like an acrobatics skill challenge to stay under the umbrella or something? :P

    fadingathedges on
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    VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Color me intrigued! I am rather desperate for some DnD action, and this campain sounds both extremely interesting and suitable for one character concept I had in mind, that of an inquisitive and sadistical halfling murderer.

    I have a couple of times proven that I do not have the patience to keep up with a play by post game though, and I might be screwed when it comes to times even if it will be played over a chat program. Nevertheless I'll look forward to more information with cautious hope!

    Vic on
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Aegeri, how would you run a black rain encounter in game? I mean, is it like an acrobatics skill challenge to stay under the umbrella or something? :P

    There are several 'types' of encounters. Later, there is a tomb that begins to fill with the stuff as it leaks through the ceiling for example. This involves a wide variety of things: Acrobatics to leap from from sarcophagus to sarcophagus to keep off the floor. Endurance for running down a long corridor chased by a torrent of the stuff and this sort of thing.

    All Black Death encounters have a couple of considerations for their use:

    1) They are all immensely lethal to players, if they get caught out in the open without cover visible they will die. This is of course not the aim, it's there to make them paranoid as if the weather starts going bad the players are almost certainly going to start getting nervous (which is the point!). So it should not be used in such situations, unless the PCs are going running in the middle of nowhere for some reason.

    Edit: Immersion is rare however, except in a few circumstances later on that will be described in detail where relevant. In general, being immersed in the stuff can be assumed to be instantly lethal. Inside a living host, the Black Death has an identical effect to drinking pure mercury.

    2) Armour helps, so the more armoured you are the better. It will inevitably seep through, but there is still a protective response.

    So a EL 2 Black Death encounter looks like this:

    Players will be within say a kilometer or so of cover (A kilometer is 1000 meters, which is roughly 3280 feet) and they will realise on a DC 15 nature check (or not at all, thunder is a good give away you're in deep trouble) that the weather is starting to go terrible (which starts the encounter). In a light shower, players suffer 1d4 damage / turn from the rain (this is necrotic damage). The idea is to 'outrun' the approaching stormclouds, before they envelope the party. The storm never rolls dice (It has no stats and is after-all, just a cloud) but the DC of the endurance checks determines the speed. You could decide if there is an extreme wind for example, that the storm moves incredibly quickly and the DC to outrun it may be 20 (which is extreme for a 1st/2nd level party).

    A good starting DC for low level characters would be 15 and play it like a chase. If players roll well, they'll begin to pull ahead of the storm and should be checking the endurance skill (for sustained running in plate armour!). If a player has heavy armour they have a -2 modifier to the amount of damage they suffer, -1 for light armour (there is some protection) and no modifier for no armour. A character who falls behind due to poor endurance/bad luck can have another player come back for them, exchanging a -2 penalty on the helping players endurance roll to give them a +2 boost on their roll. Another player can choose to pick up and carry another (which would be rather heroic in itself!) instead, suffering a -4 to -10 penalty (determine this based on how heavily armoured they are, the size of the character and such forth. The parties str 15ish Dragonborn carrying the halfling rogue should get less penalty, than the parties wizard with 10 str and trying to carry said dragonborn fighter in heavy armour!). Although this game has a very oppressive, horror theme, such acts of heroism and self-sacrifice should be absolutely encouraged, so make the penalties more moderate rather than based entirely on real world reasoning.

    Any player can spend time ripping their armour off to remove their check penalty. Any equipment or armour shed in such a manner needs to be cleaned with fresh water before it can be worn again, because the black death sticks to and adheres to most metals (one of it's most horrifying effects). Noting that magical weapons and armour are completely immune to this effect, though they do not stop the rain from funneling its way between cracks or holes in the armour (any exposed joints for example). Players can go through several pieces of normal equipment early on in the game.

    As mentioned above, the damage and encounter level of any black rain storm depends on these factors:

    1) Strength of the shower

    2) Speed it arrives at / available cover (some storms can, theoretically, simply be instantly lethal)

    3) Type of rain (Basically a decision between a regular style shower or hail).

    So, in the above EL-2 encounter (with a fairly modest DC, but bear in mind armour will make a huge difference) the rains damage depends on the 'frequency' of the drops. The above is really a spitting shower, with intermittent drops and so does only 1d4 damage / round. The more fierce the storm, the bigger the damage / round. Like the following:

    Rainfall type vs. Damage round (all necrotic damage) and secondary effects
    Intermittent (or light) 1d4
    Steady 2d4
    Heavy 3d4 + drenching (covers armour and weaponry in black rain within 2 rounds of exposure)
    Thunderstorm 4d4 + drenching + lightning
    Hailstorm 5d4 + drenching + penetrating (ignores armour and can break its way through wooden buildings)

    Drenching has the effect that once completely covered in the stuff, armour ceases to have any benefit on the damage rolls suffered. The armour has to be taken off immediately or the necrotic damage will continue and additionally, once drenched any character wearing such armour takes an additional 2d4 damage a round from contact with the substance. So in a heavy storm where you've had more than 2 rounds of exposure to the rain you will be suffering 3d4 (rain) +2d4 (contact) damage a round. Very nasty.

    Black rain heals undead equally to the amount of damage it would cause to a living thing. In terms of its raising effect, if you ever need the mechanical nuts and bolts of how it works, any "dead" creature that is "healed" to its bloodied value on contact with the black rain is instantly raised as an equivalent undead. In places with very intermittent rain, it can take weeks for the undead to rise. In places with heavy rain the undead are basically coming back to your doorstep within hours.

    In general, black rain encounters are designed to heighten suspense and to make players paranoid about the usual "let's stroll from points A to point B" movement typical of fantasy games. Not kill them. Black rain also boosts encounters with undead creatures, increase any encounter level with undead by +1 if there are pools or light black rain showers present (due to the continual healing effect of these). +3 if they are in heavy showers (5d4 healing per round!) and such forth.

    In most modules, weather effects are not used very often except in certain regions (which are known for heavy rainfall, like around the great lake that is basically thick black soup by this point and the players will need to get to the bottom of it, won't that be fun!). Black Death is usually used as an environmental hazard (instead of the classic pool of acid or whatever), a way of increasing tension/drama or for providing a logical barrier (How do we get across this stuff?).

    I hope this helps. Sorry about the lateness of the first module guys, I am quite pedantic about making sure each module has its own unique 'twist' and flows onto one another fairly (The first module gives me some jitters as it's a little railroady, kinda required from how it starts. I recommend using module 2 to start instead if that bothers you).

    Edit: I will post both modules simultaneously if possible now. So this weekend is when I will have both of them done (theoretically!).

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    VicVic Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    We would still be very much interested in how you plan to organise this campaign. At least, I am.

    Vic on
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Vic wrote: »
    We would still be very much interested in how you plan to organise this campaign. At least, I am.

    I am writing a series of modules and then I will put the modules up on this forum for general use. I'm running the campaign with people in "real life", but am also putting it up online as I go along for people to take ideas from or use in their own campaigns. I am not running the campaign directly online myself, merely making the material from my campaign available to those who want it.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    KlatuKlatu Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi OiRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    /bow Aegeri

    Great work mate. I'll be keeping an eye on this for sure. I'm starting up a game with some of my friends soon and from the look of this I know they'll love it.

    Keep up the good work.

    Klatu on
    Steam id:Klatu - PS id: Klatu_PA - 3DS FC: 0920-0528-6680
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    programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Very nice campaign, Aegeri. I'm almost positively going to be running this.

    And I've already figured out my conclusion, too:

    The PCs make a deal with a positively ancient god who tells them two locations:
    a. the location of an armory of powerful magical weapons used in an ancient fight before recorded history
    b. the location of a warforged factory capable of turning out an army of over a million strong.

    The entire army will storm right through a day's march of rain without even the slightest problem, and as the armies clash in the capital, the PCs will fight Taer’Khan himself.

    You have an ETA on the first modules? I'm probably going to be running this weekend and am wondering what I need to do for prepwork.

    programjunkie on
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    ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Colour me highly intrigued.

    Forar on
    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
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    OatsOats Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    This seems like some very high quality work. I've been thinking of picking up the 4E books and rolling my first D20.

    This campaign would be a hell of a cherry popping.

    Oats on
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You have an ETA on the first modules? I'm probably going to be running this weekend and am wondering what I need to do for prepwork

    At the moment, possibly today or tomorrow. If you live in the US that will be either late today or Friday your time. I've finished 90% of the first module and am currently re-altering the final battle in the Fangwood (you'd be amazed how dangerous 3 Gravehounds actually are). I need to find a way of attaching things like word documents, because putting all of it into a forum post will be a real pain in the ass.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Aegeri wrote: »
    You have an ETA on the first modules? I'm probably going to be running this weekend and am wondering what I need to do for prepwork

    At the moment, possibly today or tomorrow. If you live in the US that will be either late today or Friday your time. I've finished 90% of the first module and am currently re-altering the final battle in the Fangwood (you'd be amazed how dangerous 3 Gravehounds actually are). I need to find a way of attaching things like word documents, because putting all of it into a forum post will be a real pain in the ass.

    Google Documents is my suggestion: google.com, then click more for a dropdown, then documents (you need an account, but it takes like 5 minutes and is free).

    Here's an example of a word document uploaded to google documents (my first try. I may delete the excess spaces that are useful for word in pageview format):

    http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcgjm4fk_0dp2nwngs
    (This is the Necromancer class I am working on).

    programjunkie on
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Excellent, that will be the simplest way for me to do things without reformatting everything again. It was going to be a nightmare.

    Edit: Google documents works. I'll put all my modules up on google documents as word 2003-2007 compatible files. Each module has a description and such. I'll also post on the forum considerations.

    Inevitably, I will also post a map of the campaign, which takes place within the predominantly human part of the Empire.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Re-writing everything.

    Module 1 will take characters from 1st level to 3rd level and virtually everything is now completely different. Will be done by next saturday, I've basically rewrote the entire campaign start and changed up huge amounts of stuff (actually, everything to do with it).

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    The Golden Granite GunmanThe Golden Granite Gunman Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I've got to say Aegeri, I was planning my own stylized fantasy-apocalypse campaign - a bit more eccentric than this one here - but, the idea of the Black Death is simply fantastic.

    I eagerly await this campaign. Who knows it might even get me to put my campaign up here myself.


    GGG

    The Golden Granite Gunman on
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