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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Still can't get over the idea of vampires in a town called Gary. That's like some poo poo out of What We Do In The Shadows.

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Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Re - Dragonlance;
Did anyone playtest these modules?
Also, Paladine - there's a reason that a number fantasy setting with gods have 'em not interfering much in the way of mortals, priests aside. I mean, your're here, and you help* - why ain't you just solving the problem, man?

*Pfff

Covok posted:

RE: Song of Ice & Fire, do the campaign rules have systems to support dropping 90% of the plot points and having everyone be wildly out of character in the last 2 sessions?

Their opening post says it's based on the books, and not the show, sooo

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Part of the issue I think is that the folk-pantheism that is kind of thoughtlessly swaged into a lot of D&D settings conflates the individual character of a god (this is usually about gods) with that god's position in the cosmos. If you kill the cruel and evil god of Death and replace him with one of your party members, Death will continue on as a cosmic phenomenon, but it would presumably be managed by a wise and sympathetic adventurer -- and if she might eventually go skull-nuts in two thousand years, well, that's a problem for future parties.

If ENTIRELY REMOVING the god of death means that nothing is capable of death, you have significantly greater problems, starting with what you are gonna eat for dinner.

Dark Sun avoids this by not really having gods... there are powerful elemental beings but they are mostly a mix of "pissed off Athas is hosed up" and "eager to increase the power of their element." (Which gets interesting nuances, like Fire really wanting society to thrive and forests to grow... so there's poo poo to burn!) We have also been conditioned to either think in terms of the conservative position, or a direct antithesis to that ('kill the gods and topple their thrones' gets given intrinsic credibility even if the statement immediately after is 'and put me, Emperor Thudbuck, on them instead'). You could probably get mileage out of using divine politics and the prospect of removing/disbarring/axing gods as a metaphor for politics, which may be what is happening in Planescape, I don't know.

PurpleXVI posted:

Still can't get over the idea of vampires in a town called Gary. That's like some poo poo out of What We Do In The Shadows.
It's a real town! It's honestly pretty piquant since I gather Gary was ahead of the term on becoming a post-industrial shithole.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Gun Jam posted:

Their opening post says it's based on the books, and not the show, sooo
It just doesn't have an endgame?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

PurpleXVI posted:

Still can't get over the idea of vampires in a town called Gary. That's like some poo poo out of What We Do In The Shadows.
You're being too kind. The Staten Island community boards have more political power than Modius.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjP2O9Qe4Ek


Narrator: But it was not sweet.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007



90s Cringe Rock posted:

It just doesn't have an endgame?

After five sessions, the GM has to
end the campaign abruptly, then sporadically blog for years and years about how he totally has the next session all planned out and the prep work shouldnít take more than a few more weeks, honestly.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Gun Jam posted:

Re - Dragonlance;
Did anyone playtest these modules?
Also, Paladine - there's a reason that a number fantasy setting with gods have 'em not interfering much in the way of mortals, priests aside. I mean, your're here, and you help* - why ain't you just solving the problem, man?

*Pfff


Their opening post says it's based on the books, and not the show, sooo

The Dragonlance novels were based off of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's own gaming sessions which they were writing up for TSR's Dragonlance project.* Several of the players in those sessions helped write a lot of the DL series PurpleXVI's reviewing today; in fact, the name Jeff Grubb shows up almost as much as the big two, and he's contributed to countless Dragonlance sourcebooks and modules since.

So they were 'playtested' in the same vein that the DM's own adventures, warts and all, were eventually converted into a published adventure serial.

*During the late 70s to early 80s TSR had a desire to do something different than the anti-hero Conanesque "treasure hunters" module which D&D had in spades, and instead try something closer to Tolkienesque high fantasy.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 22:24 on Dec 17, 2019

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Comrade Koba posted:

After five sessions, the GM has to
end the campaign abruptly, then sporadically blog for years and years about how he totally has the next session all planned out and the prep work shouldnít take more than a few more weeks, honestly.

Don't doxx me like this. TIA.

Glagha
Oct 13, 2008

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAaaAAAaaAAaAA
AAAAAAAaAAAAAaaAAA
AAAA
AaAAaaA
AAaaAAAAaaaAAAAAAA
AaaAaaAAAaaaaaAA



Okay I didn't read the Vampire thing through but... is there seriously VtM poo poo taking place in Gary? Like... that Gary? Gary, Indiana?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Glagha posted:

Okay I didn't read the Vampire thing through but... is there seriously VtM poo poo taking place in Gary? Like... that Gary? Gary, Indiana?

The crew that came up with the game did so as they were driving to GenCon, part of which through the economically blighted Gary. It may have started there, in fact. I can't remember. MRH tells the story in the terminally mediocre WoD documentary.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Nessus posted:

It's a real town! It's honestly pretty piquant since I gather Gary was ahead of the term on becoming a post-industrial shithole.

It's also probably best known as the hometown of Michael Jackson and his siblings. Draw your own conclusions.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



That Old Tree posted:

The crew that came up with the game did so as they were driving to GenCon, part of which through the economically blighted Gary. It may have started there, in fact. I can't remember. MRH tells the story in the terminally mediocre WoD documentary.
Without listening to MRH I would assume that their trip from Georgia to Lake Geneva, WI took them through Gary just before Chicago, and the part of Gary you hit before Chicago is just truly cursed. It smells like old iron mill (because: it is), it's very poorly-lit for being a major highway, and it's flat ground level in enough places that people will just be running across it while you're driving 70. Also, feral dogs.

If oWoD is a suburban white lens through which to be afraid of The Other, Gary is a fantastic place to just be passing through.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Libertad! posted:

The Dragonlance novels were based off of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's own gaming sessions which they were writing up for TSR's Dragonlance project.* Several of the players in those sessions helped write a lot of the DL series PurpleXVI's reviewing today; in fact, the name Jeff Grubb shows up almost as much as the big two, and he's contributed to countless Dragonlance sourcebooks and modules since.

So they were 'playtested' in the same vein that the DM's own adventures, warts and all, were eventually converted into a published adventure serial.

*During the late 70s to early 80s TSR had a desire to do something different than the anti-hero Conanesque "treasure hunters" module which D&D had in spades, and instead try something closer to Tolkienesque high fantasy.

If I remember correctly, Takhisis and Paladine were the names they came up with for the Chromatic Dragon and Platinum Dragon from the Greyhawk (supplement) for their home games. Before the Monster Manual named them Tiamat and Bahamut.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

MonsterEnvy posted:

If I remember correctly, Takhisis and Paladine were the names they came up with for the Chromatic Dragon and Platinum Dragon from the Greyhawk (supplement) for their home games. Before the Monster Manual named them Tiamat and Bahamut.

IIRC the rationale for this was that Hickman and/or Weis were reluctant to use the names of real-world deities so subbed in names they made up instead.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case





The Great Modron March Part 12: Just What the Hell is Going On Here
Now seems a decent time to introduce some of the fiction. This is for the DM's eyes only and really only serves to explain what's going on to DMs who plan to run Dead Gods. Since I plan to review it as soon as I'm done with this (and hopefully get it all done within a few months this time), I'll be including this. This fiction actually appears at the start of the adventure, but I've left it for now because it's spoilery.

The story begins with one of the secundi, the direct servants of Primus, leaving Primus's chamber after communing with the One and the Prime. Primus is left alone in the central chamber of the Great Modron Cathedral, connected to a lattice of waxy strands called the Infinity Web. Through this web, the One and the Prime can see through the eyes of every modron, everywhere in the multiverse. Only a Power like Primus can interpret, collate, cross-reference, sort, and process this inflow of information without going completely barmy, but most Powers can't literally see everything their servants do. Primus is therefore one of the most well-informed sods in the multiverse.

Primus detects a flurry of movement within the central chamber. This shouldn't be possible-- nobody should be here. Primus doubts the evidence of its senses, confirms it with other perceptions, and concludes: the impossible has happened. Correction: it is merely improbable, because it has happened. Primus's chamber has been invaded.

Primus attempts to call a secundi, but the call is blocked. This shouldn't be happening. Still, Primus is a Power in the heart of its domain, and feels no fear. It calmly adjusts to circumstances. The invaders resemble lower-planar beings, but of no kind Primus has seen before-- and you had better believe that eliminates nearly everything and everyone. They scurry around the chamber performing strange tasks, then part, revealing a shadowy figure that approaches Primus.

"You know me, do you not, modron?" In this figure's mouth the word becomes a slur. The One and Prime sifts through its recollection and realizes that yes, indeed, it does know this invader, and somehow this knowledge makes it uncomfortable.

"Yes," says Primus, the hint of shock in its voice hidden to all but the most careful listener. The smile the shadowy figure wears reveals that it is most careful indeed. "But, obviously, an elaborate deception is at work here," Primus continues. "You are dead."

"Yes, I am. But I've no time for your short-sighted observations. Do you know where my talisman lies?"

Primus scans its memory banks. It knows quite a lot about this entity, especially given that they've never met, and especially especially given that the entity is definitely deceased. The One and the Prime realizes that it does know of the talisman, but it has no idea what has become of it, or where it is.

"No," it replies. Primus is always truthful.

The invader psychically delves into Primus's mind, something that should not be possible and makes the modron Power recoil. The intruder's mental touch withdraws. "Yes, of course you're telling the truth... simpleton. But there's a way you can find out where it lies-- you and your little automatons."

Primus realizes suddenly that it is at the invader's mercy. As it struggles to summon its guardians, the invader continues: "Of course, I can't let word of my existence be revealed yet, and I don't actually need you alive to accomplish what must be done here."

The intruder speaks the Last Word, and Primus, the One and the Prime, dies.



...

Well! That's all very weird and ominous! But at this point, nobody knows what's happened... or rather, the only people who know have no intention of sharing that knowledge. But that's about the change. We're entering The Last Leg, the 11th and last adventure. At this point, the PCs should be level 8-10, which is good, because this is the toughest mission yet. The March is nearing home: it's passed through Baator, leaving behind more than a few modrons abducted by the baatezu for nefarious purposes. All that's left is to pass through Acheron, the plane of lawful evil/neutral evil, and then the modrons are home free in Mechanus, another successful March in the books.

This is, of course, the most perilous time for the March. Acheron is a dangerous place: the first layer, Avalas, consists of endless metal cubes in an airy void, on which countless disciplined armies endlessly clash, dissolve, reform, and clash again. The orcish and goblin pantheons make their homes here and war eternally against each other, and Sigil's Mercykillers also call Avalas home. Even if you're not press-ganged into an army, you may simply end up a smear on the ground when two cubes crash together-- everything on their exposed surfaces is smashed flat.

The second layer of Acheron, Thuldanin, might be worse. There's a bit less clangorous chaos, but Thuldanin is the scrap-heap of the multiverse, the caverns within its cubes full of all the detritus and castoffs of the multiverse. (Chant goes that any object disintegrated by magic anywhere in the multiverse ends up here... course, that might just be screed, but there sure are a lot of weapons and armor lying around, and some of it's magic...). Not only are the cubes haunted by the evil sentient ostrich-beasts called achaierai, but giant rust monsters and worse patrol the mines, looking for scrap to eat. If that wasn't bad enough, just standing around on the plane is dangerous: anything and anyone here left long enough eventually petrifies into metallic stone.

The modrons typically take a path through Avalas to Resounding Thunder, the realm of the Chinese Power Lei Kung. Lei Kung has granted them safe passage to Mechanus, so this should be smooth sailing, right? The poor little berks need it. After everything they've been through, the March is severely reduced. There are only 124 modrons left: 58 quadrones, 50 pentadrones, 5 decatons, four nonatons, four octons, one septon, one hexton, and one quinton. (Remember, as modrons die, others are promoted to their ranks, so the March always loses all its monodrones and duodrones first). The only modrons left are the toughest types, but there's so few of them, they stand a very real chance of being wiped out before they make it back to Mechanus.

The PCs get involved the usual way: the spread of rumor. The latest? The modrons have been carting around a powerful artifact called the modron crucible. It's like a mimir (a talking, knowledge-storing head), a storehouse of all the dark they've picked up in their multiversal trek. Even the most leatherheaded PC understands the significance of something like this: loaded with information known by nobody else, it's priceless. Nearly everyone who hears about the crucible schemes to pick it up for him or herself. The rumors of its existence should be enough to get the PCs moving, but you can always have a patron offer them a lot of dough to pick up the crucible for them-- or at least confirm its existence. The PCs should start off heading to Rigus, gate-town to Mechanus, to figure out where the modrons went. The March is small enough now that it's not super easy to track.

Rigus always throws open its gates to the modrons, probably due to some long-forgotten pact. The inhabitants aren't nice-- many of them would, I'm sure, love to butcher the modrons and be done with it-- but everyone follows the rules in Rigus. Or else. It's more lawful than evil, but it's got plenty of both. Visitors have to wear heavy plaques identifying their status; without one, you'll be enslaved and press-ganged into one of the endless wars of Acheron, sure as sure (the modrons, of course, are an exception). The PCs have just missed the little blighters, as it turns out. The portal to Acheron (known as The Lion's Gate) is located about a mile underground, in a cavern beneath town. You can get there via a staircase from the innermost of Rigus's walls, but the guards on the wall have orders to close the way up tightly as soon as the modrons pass through, and leave it closed for a week. No exceptions.

Dead end? Not quite. Rigus is lawful, but that doesn't mean everyone's on the up and up. It shouldn't be too hard for those of a roguish persuasion to find someone willing to sell them information: information on the modrons and their path through Acheron, or maybe even another, secret access to the gate. There are plenty of tunnels besides the main one (good opportunity for some combat here, too, though the adventure doesn't mention any). An informant can also tell the PCs that the Acheron side of the gate moves: sometimes it lets out in the Mercykiller headquarters of Vorkehan, sometimes on the Blue Cube, and sometimes on the Battlecube of the goblins and orcs. There's an information broker named Villich who'll sell this info, push comes to shove. He tells them about the modrons' deal with Lei Kung and the path they usually take through His realm.

Usually. See, here's something even Villich doesn't know: because this March is out of sync, the agreement with Lei Kung doesn't stand, so the modrons can't use that safe route. They've deviated from their route and are now headed to Thuldanin, the second layer, where the Mines of Marsellin hold another portal to Mechanus.

The PCs won't find many people who know this, but if they want more info on Lei Kung (always smart before trying to infiltrate a Power's realm), Villich will point them to Erinos Vail, an Athar member planted on Rigus specifically to undermine Kung. The Defiers hate all deities, everywhere, and want to take them down. Vail knows all about the modrons' deal and will sell the info for a little garnish. She even knows that the deal won't hold this time, but she doesn't know about the Mines route. Still, it's not exactly secret that the only other portal to Mechanus from Acheron is in the mines, so asking around (and shaking a purse) should get that info easily enough. It's also easy enough to get directions to the mines, even though it requires the PCs to pass through the goblin realm of Clangor and the duergar realm of Hammergrim. They'll pay for every word, of course. Nothing's free in Rigus.

Very, very extensive research performed by very resourceful PCs will give them a shortcut: there's a portal straight to the Mines of Marsellin in Sigil itself. It opens once a week and is in an alley full of trash, possibly infested with otyughs and the like, but at least it's not guarded; the dabus use it to push trash into Marsellin. Other adventurers might accost them during their week's wait; everyone's heard of the modron crucible and everyone wants a piece. That's assuming the PCs even find out about this thing in the first place, of course. The best way to do this kind of research is in Rigus's Chamber of Records, which is unfortunately off-limits to non-citizens. Fighting your way in just isn't going to work; the Rigus militia is numerous and tenacious. PCs can get fake papers, though, provided by a criminal syndicate called The Left Eye. The adventure provides some details on the Left Eye, its leadership, its members, and their practices, and adds that they're super untrustworthy and will ambush the PCs after they make it out of the Hall of Records to try to find out what they've learned-- though the fight shouldn't pose a problem to PCs of this level, especially since the Left Eye thugs will flee if it turns against them (or not attack at all if they're severely outmatched). The Left Eye will pass on information about the PCs to their allies in Acheron, though, which could be a pain later.

Meanwhile, the Modrons have arrived on the Blue Cube (an electrically charged cube with a blue dragon trapped on it, who loses his memory every day and scratches records into the cube Memento-style to try to escape). They fly to Vorkehan, from which they plan to travel to Thuldanin and thence to Marsellin. Here, have a map.


Probably, the PCs will have to travel through Acheron to reach Marsellin. By the time they make it through the Lion's Gate (either by tunnel or by waiting), the end has shifted, and it drops them on the Battlecube-- on the outskirts of a battlefield, in fact, surrounded by the dead. The sounds of battle are distant and ominous. The PCs can make their way across the cube, dodging various dangers, until they reach the town of Grashmog in Clangor, which will take them to the town of Forgegloom in Hammergrim (man, Acheron sounds like such a friendly place!). From here, they're headed to Hopeglimmer, and a portal to Marsellin. Clangor's about a day's march from their present location: a day's desolate, depressing march through a forlorn battlefield, full of scavenger vermin and corpses. There are occasional fiends and other dangerous things, but there are just as many encounters with scavengers looking for valuable scrap.

Grashmog's across a fast, wide river called the Lorfang, which surrounds the entire realm of Clangor. The only bridges across are within the walled city of Shetring, which is, if anything, more hostile to outsiders than Rigus (though telling rude orc jokes is one easy way in-- the goblins and orcs of Acheron hate each other). The PCs can also bribe the guards, and frankly, this shouldn't be a big challenge. Goblins aren't that bright.

Visitors to Shetring are not allowed to wear red, white, or black cloaks (all important insignia here) and must wear jade armbands. They are not told that these armbands allow any goblin officer to inflict hold person on them by saying "Maglubiyet compels you!" but hopefully they aren't leatherheaded enough to pick a fight here, such that that becomes necessary. Obedient PCs can pass on through to Grashmog and the portal, but the goblins won't let them use it unless they affirm the majesty of Maglubiyet (this isn't a portal key, it's just something the jerkass goblins make them do). You can sneak into the portal, which is challenging, or you can try to fight, which is suicidal, because these are goblin fanatics in the realm of their power, but stats are provided for the local shaman anyways.

Overall, this area is dripping with detail, which is great, except mostly what the PCs are doing is going on a sightseeing trip. I'd like to introduce some problem solving, maybe make them navigate goblin society a little bit to get permission to use the portal, or do some stealthy stuff. And a party of combat-loving types will get bored without a few encounters on the way. Be careful-- it's easy to get tempted to start a big fight in Clangor, but that's basically suicide unless you're willing to really deploy the deus ex machina.

The portal in Grashmog takes the PCs to Forgegloom, a duergar city that's as depressing as it sounds. There's no reason to dawdle around here-- the PCs have to head to Hopeglimmer, which is a three-day march away through rakshasa-infested mountains. To the adventure's credit, it provides suggestions for some encounters on the way, but this is a little freeform; I'd like to see more effort put into the actual PC-facing parts of the adventure, and a little less on local color only the DM will read.

Anyways, passing through the portal requires the PCs to give up some "great prize" to the duergar, or at least give them first dibs on anything the PCs turn up in Marsellin. See, scavengers and treasure hunters pass through here constantly, owing to the fabulous trove of lost magic in Marsellin, and the duergar hate competition. They also hate modrons, who are the other big scavenging force in the mines, and mentioning them in any positive connection is likely to rile up a swarm of miner-petitioners. PCs may have to use a little diplomacy, or at least beat feet. The portal key is a grim thought, which basically means that it's always open to the duergar.

Eventually we make it to the Mines and the climax. Another map!


The Mines are, basically, a giant junkyard. It appears to be made of nothing but endless scrap, compressed tightly enough that it forms a navigable surface. Whatever natural surface Marsellin had once has been buried beneath the junk of eons, all slowly petrifying into metallic stone. The place is alive with scavengers of all races, tearing the cube apart for its component parts. No matter how much they cart off, more wreckage appears constantly. Some comes through portals, but some just appears, and nobody knows where from. The scavengers are risking a nasty death via petrification, but it takes a long time, and PCs won't be here long enough to risk it (hopefully). The cube is ruled by a rust dragon (a gigantic, ancient rust monster) called Coirosis. She's allied with the Mercykillers and hates modrons, and so she's done a favor for a fellow member of the Mercykillers, a warlord named Craggis. Craggis has amassed a small army and wants to wipe out the March for good and all. Why? Well, he wants to be known as the man who stopped the March. Nobody's managed it so far, but Craggis thinks he can pull it off, and with the bladelings and undead hobgoblins under his control, he just might. (Bladelings are the native race of Acheron, a reclusive people that look like they're made of thorns). Craggis is also aware of the PCs thanks to his Left Eye informants, and he's laid a trap to stop them from interfering. This trap consists of two small flocks of achaierai waiting for the PCs just outside the portal. Achaierai are big, horrible ostrich-like birds, but with four legs; I like this depiction of them, but there are others much more whimsical.

They're fairly nasty combatants, with three attacks each (although their super-damaging bite only works on 10' enemies) and the ability to release a gas that causes damage and insanity. They're also intelligent, and will screech that they were sent by the mighty Craggis, which should be the PCs' first hint of him.

Once they get past the boids, the PCs can look for the modrons. They're just ahead, not too hard to find. When the PCs catch up with the March, they can try whatever technique they please to find the modron crucible. Creativity and cleverness is encouraged, but it doesn't matter what they try, they'll turn up emptyhanded, because the modron crucible doesn't exist. The modrons will ignore them entirely; this close to their destination, they're singlemindedly focused on getting home. They might use their clerical magic to get rid of annoying PCs if they're obstructing the March, but they won't initiate combat.

Of course, there's someone nearby who can help. See, sometimes modrons go rogue. It doesn't happen often, even less often on the Law side of the Great Ring, and almost never during the March; but it does happen, and it's happened here. A pentadrone has discovered self-awareness. Like all rogues, it's immediately transformed into a quadrone shape, and like all rogues, it's hiding from its fellows, who would destroy it in an instant. It has named itself 8, and when it sees the PCs, it will try to get their attention.

"This is 8," says 8, pointing at itself. "Non-8s," it says, pointing at the PCs. "Non-8s seek information on the Modron March. 8 will give non-8s information. Non-8s will assist 8 in successful escape of this plane and the Modron March."

A note here: I love rogue modrons. They're great PCs and better NPCs. They're a lot of fun, and this is an adventure that thrives on the wild and wacky bits of the multiverse. 8 is a genuinely interesting NPC: someone weird, but not too weird to interact with normally; someone with well-defined goals, which only somewhat intersect with the PCs'; someone with a valuable resource the PCs need.

Why the gently caress is he only being introduced here, when the adventure is nearly over? Sure, 8 wants to escape, so if you meet it in Rigus its mission is basically done... but that's easy to fix. As you're about to see, 8 actually has other goals, goals that directly contradict its mission of freedom. It would be incredibly easy to place 8 earlier and give it a reason to want to follow the March to Marsellin. This adventure would be so much better as a rogue modron escort mission. That's how I'd always run it.

Anyways, moving on.

The PCs are likely surprised by this, especially if they don't know what a rogue modron is, because 8 won't describe itself as such. Instead, it will merely say that it has gained awareness of self. 8 isn't chaotic, but it's rejected the standard social order of modronkind, and other modrons could never forgive that. They'd recognize it on sight and do their level best to put it in the dead-book. 8 is helpful, though. For one thing, it will definitively clear up the mystery about the modron crucible: it ain't real. But the rest of the modrons' knowledge is, and 8 has a lot to share. This could be almost as good as the crucible.

Of course, it's at this point that Craggis attacks. Undead hobgoblins leap out of the scrap and the rain down from the mine shafts above. There are almost four times as many of them as modrons, and they're accompanied by Craggis and a fighting wedge of 24 bladeling mercenary warrior/conjurors. The fight is on, but the odds are against the modrons ever making it back to Mechanus.

8, despite being a rogue, still feels a great deal of loyalty and affection for modronkind, and it wants to see the March succeed. When Craggis attacks, it will exclaim:
"8 has altered its decision! 8 and non-8s must protect the Modron March! Only if Modron March is safe will 8 provide information to non-8s!"

With that, it attacks. The PCs may want to stay out-- after all, this isn't their fight-- but 8, despite its very un-modronlike battle fury, is probably going to be torn to pieces in the ensuing combat, and with it will go their only lead. So once more into the breach, friends.

here's Craggis

Fighting through hobgoblins is easy, they're mooks. Fighting the bladelings is significantly harder. They have magic resistance, magic swords, and spells through 5th level (though at least they haven't got any truly nasty fifth level spells prepared). They also have a "breath weapon" where they fire off a storm of razors, but doing so substantially worsens their AC and magic resistance and reduces their elemental resistances. They are immune to non-magical piercing and bladed weapons, as well as acid, and resist cold and fire, so they're pretty tanky, though their hp and Thac0 is just good rather than great.

At least one bladeling per character breaks off to engage the PCs (you can alter it up if your PCs are fightier, I guess), but this diversion is enough: the modrons get a chance to rally and use their spells, and there are still a lot of them (and they tear through the hobgoblins like chaff, too). When this happens, Craggis joins the battle. He's not nearly as tough as his bladelings, though he is substantially harder to destroy. See, when the PCs blast open Craggis's armor and lay him low, they'll find it was hollow. Craggis doesn't wield a broad sword +2. He is a broad sword +2.

The Unity of Rings is one of the laws of the multiverse, and just as this adventure started with a sentient magic item invented by Heiron Lifegiver, it ends with one, too. Craggis is a magic sword with a will and a voice. He can use animate object and ventriloquism to give himself the appearance of an armored warrior, but what he is, is a sword. It's not too hard to destroy the sword, once you've smashed its armor puppet to bits and routed its army, but you also don't have to. It's a sword. Once it's used its one animation per week, it's helpless. It'll beg to be left behind in Marsellin, where a week from now it can reform its body, but PCs would be smart not to let that happen. Heiron is probably gonna want this one back.

Once the bladelings fighting the PCs are down, their fellows will realize that the combat has turned against them and retreat. Craggis too, if he can. The modrons, without a word of thanks, continue on and pass through the gate to Mechanus. And the March comes home.

What about 8? Sadly, it won't make it. It wasn't just the bladelings-- the other modrons saw the rogue and attacked, too. 8's wounds are too severe, it's missing limbs, and it's clearly dying. As it lays there, it will tell the heroes the most valuable chant it has.

"Non-8s have provided the help 8 asked for. 8 will give the information the non-8s require. This Modron March was not a standard Modron March. This Modron March occurred because... because... the One and the Prime is dead..."

With that, 8 dies, its body decaying rapidly into nothingness. This would be a bit more of a tearjerker if the PCs hadn't met it five minutes ago, but like I said, you can change that.

So what do the PCs do now? What do you do with information like that? First of all, they can take Craggis back to Heiron, but that's a thankless task. The sword can dominate wielders with inferior wills, so the safest course is to toss it in a sack for the journey to Automata... but the sword will beg, plead and cajole the whole way. "It's an insolent knave, as swords go," the book informs us. Heiron won't be grateful either. In his eyes, Craggis was a failure, and the PCs are just reminding him of that; he'll take the sword to destroy it, but he won't like doing so.

The PCs may wish to investigate Primus's supposed death, but that'll be impossible to corroborate. Only the secundi even know of Primus's existence, and if the PCs somehow get access to one, it will merely say that the One and the Prime "is and always will be" so obviously rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. If the PCs go looking themselves, by the time they reach Primus's chamber (a difficult task in and of itself) the usurper is gone and a new Primus is in place, promoted automatically from one of the secundi. The new Primus certainly won't speak to them, and there's no way to tell it is a new Primus. One thing's for sure: The March is over, and everyone involved has been touched by a mysterious and wondrous planar event, the likes of which most cutters never see. PCs have become a part of history, if only a footnote. They might find themselves hounded by researchers, journalists, historians, publishers, or just addle-coves looking for tales of the planes.

Epilogue

We conclude with another short bit of fiction. The modrons arrive home in Regulus, to no fanfare at all. Nobody greets them; there are no cheers. They simply take up their duties. Still, it is good that they're back. It is right. The perfect structure of Mechanus is intact.

He paused. Had he thought that?

The shadowy figure detaches itself from the Infinity Web and steps down from Primus's place. He realizes he's been changed by the experience in unexpected ways. He had, after all, been Primus. He knows now that he has to leave so a secundi can be the new Primus and reassert order. Despite being chaotic evil, he can't deny this rightful succession. It is time to go.

He knows he's forced the modrons out of their lawful nature, and he maybe even feels a little guilty, though he's sure that will pass. Will they wait another 289 years, or will they march again on-schedule? Even he doesn't know. Why does he even care? These things don't matter. Reclaiming his power and his position, that's what matters. Soon, surely, the lawful urges will stop.

He pauses to look at his servants. Their flesh hangs off desiccated bodies. Things are easier to control when they're dead, the shadowy figure reckons.

He reflects on the time he spent on this gambit. It took a long, long time, but he's narrowed down the location of his precious talisman: somewhere on the Lower Planes. While connected to the Infinity Web, he was able to pull together connections and correlate data in a way he never could before, and certainly can't now. He'll miss that.

He reflects on the eternity of his existence, the regrets, the missed opportunities and failures, and the fleeting nature of success. Is this why he's come back? No, not at all. He wants vengeance, that's it. Enough reflection. He has work to do.

He addresses his undead servants. "To the Bottom of the Multiverse!" he declares. There's much to do, after all. Obstacles to surmount. Primus will not be the last god he has to kill.

The End

So, that's the Modron March! Thank you all for your patience. I'll try to be quicker next time. Next time, I'll pick up with Dead Gods, another Planescape mega-adventure that builds directly on this one. In that, we'll find out who this shadowy figure is, just what he wants, and what could be so important that he'd hijack the entire Modron March to get it.

Glagha
Oct 13, 2008

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAaaAAAaaAAaAA
AAAAAAAaAAAAAaaAAA
AAAA
AaAAaaA
AAaaAAAAaaaAAAAAAA
AaaAaaAAAaaaaaAA



I have also definitely ended up in Gary on my way to Gencon before so that definitely sounds like something that might happen.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Covok posted:

RE: Song of Ice & Fire, do the campaign rules have systems to support dropping 90% of the plot points and having everyone be wildly out of character in the last 2 sessions?

Gun Jam posted:

Their opening post says it's based on the books, and not the show, sooo
If it was based on the show people would have to slowly start losing interest and roleplaying effort at about the halfway point of the game, not just the last 2 sessions.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Flail Snail posted:

There isn't much to tell - the adventure is an insanely straight-forward choo choo. It starts off with you either becoming escaped slaves or hanging out doing slave stuff until endless hoards of beastmen attack, forcing you to become escaped slaves. You do a puzzle but if you take too long zombies spring forth and you fight them which apparently solves the puzzle. And any time the main bad guy (who is one of the PCs) dies, another PC automatically picks up his macguffin and becomes the new bad guy. No matter what, you reach the ending. If any PCs remain, they've definitely been corrupted by the influence of the macguffin and must assist the bad guy. You either defeat the good guy at the end and bring about the endless winter, or the good guy defeats you, touches the macguffin, becomes the bad guy, and then brings about the endless winter. If there's a TPK at some point, some random NPC touches the macguffin and brings about the endless winter.

I don't think I could make that interesting enough for a F&F. But it's "Slaves to Fate", if you're interested. Definitely a prescient name, if ever there was one.

Have you considered posting this as a review on on DriveThru? It's currently 5/5 with three votes.

Spector29
Nov 28, 2016



Question for Althalin, since I just rejoined the thread. I had a game of SIFRP going, and one player got knocked out for three weeks by injuries and wounds, at the start of the sample King's Tournament module. He really was just going to incapable for the rest of that module, huh?

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but is Armor actually bad? It penalizes Initiative, so you're likely to go last, and it lowers your Combat Defense so you're likely to get hit for a lot more damage than a naked Bavvosi waterdancer would.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I have to admit I feel like the Modron March falls a bit flat without Dead Gods as a follow-up. Some segments of it stand well on their own, but the general March itself kind of... lacks any sort of real "hurrah! we did it!"-goal at the end without the lead-in to Dead Gods. Not to mention... outside of general planar philosophy and politics, what are the consequences if the March gets stopped? Does it gently caress up the planes in any way? There aren't really any stakes if the players aren't invested in the Modrons and/or the rule/survival of Law in general. If it the cessation of the March caused some sort of fuckup that even Chaotic characters might care about(well poo poo, gravity is now working at right angles, that ain't good!), it'd feel a bit more interesting.

Thank you for the review, in any case!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

If oWoD is a suburban white lens through which to be afraid of The Other, Gary is a fantastic place to just be passing through.
Afraid but also fascinated. The oWoD is wearing a war bonnet and a dashiki to the music festival, and it's keeping the doors locked and the windows rolled up for the whole drive there.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Dragonlance



Dragons of War!



Welcome... to a Dragonlance adventure that doesn't suck fat piles of poo poo! I know, right? What a loving plot twist. So, quick retrospective. Each Dragonlance adventure has only one or two credited authors, then an editor and artists for the rest, so it's hard to get an idea of how much they were solo flights or team ventures. The authors are, in order:

DL1: Tracy Hickman
DL2: Douglas Niles
DL3: Tracy Hickman
DL4: Tracy Hickman and Michael Dobson
DL6: Douglas Niles
DL7: Jeff Grubb
DL8: Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman

Now, DL1 through 7 are not good, but there are distinct variations in quality. The ones by Tracy Hickman and Jeff Grubb(though Jeff Grubb has provided probably the most party-demolishing encounters thus far) at least try to give the players some option to explore and go off the beaten path(even if doing so mostly just gets them beaten up more for no reward) and a sense of a larger world that could be interacted with. Douglas Niles is a fucker, though, his are just raw linear dogshit poured down your throat. The first half of DL2 and all of DL6 are absolutely the low water mark.

As a note, both Tracy and Laura are the credited authors for the AD&D Ravenloft module.

But DL8... DL8 is different. Both in presentation and execution.

Chapter 10: Winter Councils



DL8 starts when the players are escorted to the western coast of Ergoth by the Solamnic Knights, they arrive at a port city and get an update on how the wider war is going and the state of the continent... which is not good. The Dragonarmies have essentially all of eastern, western and northern Ansalon under their control. The Solamnic Knights are holding the center, and Ergoth and Sancrist are still more or less free, as is Thorbardin, but the elven kingdoms have fallen and the Knights are only barely holding on while the Dragonarmies consolidate their gains, having yet to have any real decisive wins so far. Morale is at an all-time low and the Knights are riven with infighting as to what's to blame for their defeats.

The party can either choose to head to Sancrist to meet with the Whitestone Council, the meeting of the still-free as they plan a countermove, or they can just head east with their dragon orb and dragonlances and join the main battle. Each choice for the first chapter is essentially presented as a CYOA novel with "you travel for X days, go to encounter Y." which is a nice change from fiddly hex-tracking. The days are also important since 4 months into the game, the Dragonarmies launch their final assault on the High Clerist's Tower, the last main bastion preventing them from steamrolling the continent. There are also encounters keyed to time, some are omens, others are war-weary troops passing by and telling the party about how the war is going, that sort of thing.

If they head west, the Council turns out to be a shitshow. It's just elves, dwarves, knights, gnomes and kender all arguing about who's right and what the best plan is. The local Knight commander gives them access to his armories(containing some nice magical gear) and urges them to head to the main continent of Ansalon, to aid and reinforce the troops there. So it's costly in time, but rewarding in gear.

quote:

The Council comes to no conclusion. Indeed, the elves are ready to declare war on the Knights, while the dwarves carefully fuel the argument on both sides. The kender arenít helping much as they taunt both sides to keep tempers hot.

Still the general mood seems to be against you. If you return here the Orb and lances might be taken from you. Swift departure is advised by Gunthar.

The council is unable to decide on a course of action. The elves demand that the Orb be returned to them and are prepared to go to war to regain it. The dwarves are skeptical of the worth of a Dragonlance not forged by the Hammer of Kharas. They demand possession of Humaís Tomb and sole right to forge and wield the lances. The Knights and other humans want the lances and Orb to go to the High Clerist Tower and Palanthus, respectively. None of the delegates trust the others nor are they willing to work together

Along the way to the mainland, there are a few minor sites and towns to explore as side trips, generally all of them have a reward, there are no pointless side trips made available. What's important is that during these, the party finds the Crown of Yarus, either from random explorations or talking to NPC's along the way. It's used for unlocking the coolest ending.

In general, most things here are meant to drive the PC's towards the High Clerist's Tower, but if they make clever use of their time, they'll be well-decked-out in +3 gear for most of the melee combatants. The game even assumes that the party might want to interfere in some warfare in the contested lands away from the High Clerist's Tower, and offers stats for this(there's a BATTLESYSTEM to be used for it, which I'm frankly not familiar with, the GM can either use it to run the large battles, or he can resolve it via a simplified morale-based mechanic, which the PC's can affect by inspiring the troops on their side with clever leadership and heroic actions. Looking up the stats for BATTLESYSTEM units, though, I have to say it, but it sounds very groggy. Maybe someone more familiar can correct me.), rather than just assuming that the PC's get flattened if they get caught between two armies, they get to smite dozens and hundreds of draconians and associated Dragonarmy chaff, though it's still not their main mission.

Another important place the party can reach is Palanthus, this is where Astinus, the immortal historian(pretty clearly Gilean in disguise, though) resides and chronicles all of history. Recognizing the heroes' quest as vital, he reveals stuff about the High Clerist's Tower to them. It's not just a mighty fortification, the central tower(defended by magic) also contains powerful artifacts that can be used in the tower's defense, and he can clue them in as to where to search for some of these. Unfortunately Draconian diplomats have already talked the Palanthians into not bothering to support the Solamnic Knights, so there's no military aid to be found in the city.

All that's left is to head on to the High Clerist's Tower... which is where we've been going all along, anyway.

Chapter 11: Last Bastion

quote:

The central tower rises from eight surrounding towers. These are in the middle of a surrounding curtainwall: octagonal battlements on which you can see Solamnic Knights pacing. East of the curtainwall, a newer set of walls completes the
distance to the eastern wall of the canyon. The stream runs under this set of walls and buildings through multiple portcullises.

The rain-soaked banners of the Knights hang from the eight outer towers. No banner flies from the great tower.

Three separate encampments are spread north of the tower. Dark figures move among the tents.

Flashes of light roll through the clouds overhead. Thunder rocks the canyon walls and the rain turns into a downpour.

This is where the players have their main choice: how to win the battle at the High Clerist's Tower. They can just support the Knights and their troops and win a straight military victory with superior leadership and the occasional bit of magical support from Gilthanas and Elistan. The main sorties from the Dragonarmy encampment besieging the tower are noted, as well as some events(at one point a raider will challenge a rookie knight to single combat due to a feud he had with the knight's father, if a PC steps in to take the duel for him, allowed under Solamnic Law, and wins it, that'll give the Knights a major morale boost).

quote:

If no one takes his place, Harus must refuse combat. The act shames the Knights and lowers their morale by 2. If a PC takes his place and fights Vindar, then the morale of the Knights goes up by 2. If the PC defeats Vindar then the morale goes up by an additional 1. No NPC Knight of Solamnia will offer to stand in Harusís stead. Only a PC may chose to do so.

Winning the duel is in fact a pretty major thing that will massively reinforce the defenses of the High Clerist's Tower due to the importance of morale.

It's also accounted for that the party might try to sneak into the sieging army's camp to spy on the forces there, which will give them valuable information on when the next assault will happen and with which forces. Especially if they try for the non-standard victory conditions, which they might well, because the Dragonarmies brought some real bullshit to this fight, including a half-dozen Blue Dragons and Lord Soth and his undead knights.

Technically it's possible for the PC's to take the fight to the dragonarmies in the open field if they've secured enough morale boosts and had good enough battles repelling them from the walls, but it's implied to be suicidal, which it may well be, since this also triggers if Solamnic Morale drops far enough, at which point their commanders decide that the only way to prevent them from routing is to go on the offense and launch a sortie on their own.

Chapter 12: The Tower of the High Clerist

The High Clerist's Tower itself is obviously the focus of the fortification, it's massive, ominous and haunted as all hell. It's been that way since the Cataclysm. Prior to this, it was the home of the spiritual head of the Solamnic Knights, the high Clerist, the last of which was Yarus, who passed his days with an imprisoned Bishop of Sargonnas, Kornus, and planning how to make the world a better place. He's presented as a genuinely good person who was willing to befriend even a bishop of the god of Vengeance rather than just executing him.

There are three major things to do inside the High Clerist's Tower itself.

Firstly, figure out the purpose of the Dragon Orb in the tower.
Secondly, figure out the purpose of the Crown of Yarus.
Thirdly, score some sweet magic loot.

It also has some stuff that's cool, but mostly cosmetic, like a real-time map of Ansalon, that also accurately displays which areas are held by allied forces and which are held by Dragonarmies, which is pretty neat, if not immediately useful, but helps suggest the High Clerist's Tower as a central fortification for the forces of good. It's also absolutely drowning in sweet magic items for good-aligned clerics and arcane spellcasters, as well as magic weapons for the fighters in the party. The place is relatively low on traps, and none of them are bullshit TPK's or the like. A few gully dwarves and religious fanatics are wandering the corridors, terrified by where they are and looking for a way out(it's somewhat easy to get lost since one of the nastier traps is a teleporter maze), while the hostiles are almost purely the ghosts of those who were trapped in the tower when the Cataclysm struck. At the party's current power level, they're potentially dangerous, but fair, and have no bullshit level drains or similar stuff to bust out. Many of them are also either initially friendly or friendly as long as the PC's aren't idiots. Some of them can even be recruited to assist the party in the tower, which is useful if there are hostile ghosts around.

The Bowling Stairs feel like something out of Grimtooth's Traps, though. If the players attempt to climb it without disabling the mechanism, it drops a huge rolling boulder down the stairs. It does a lot of damage, but not enough to kill most of the party unless they're already badly beat up, even on a maximum damage hit(50HP/3.3Ra). However, there are three boulders coming down in a line... so if you keep going up after the first one flattens you, you're gonna get flattened again. And again. And then when they reach the bottom? They get teleported back to the top! I could easily see it climbing a PC life or two after the party tries to climb once the first ball has passed and bashed them up.

Probably the easiest objective to accomplish is to figure out what the Dragon Orb is used for in the tower. After all, the only thing the orbs do is send out a siren call to evil dragons that pisses them off and makes them hunt down the orb to go berserk, right? Exactly, and that's what the old Solamnic Knights figured out how to weaponize.

quote:

This is the dragontrap. A Dragon Orb is activated in the central room (Encounter Area 35). Any dragon within range is drawn toward it, entering the tower through the great portcullis gates (Area 31). As the dragon gets closer, the hall narrows. The hallís herring bone pattern makes it easy for the dragon to enter but difficult to get out. Once this far, however, the call of the Orb becomes an undeniable obsession.

The portcullis in Area 31 was dropped once the dragon was in Area 32. The iron portcullis at 32a consists of two parts controlled separately from Areas 32b. These are slammed shut when the dragonís head entered 32c, holding the head (and thus breath weapons) in room 32c. Knights can then attack the dragon from the side halls, killing it easily.

This method would disgust modern-day Knights because they have forgotten the spirit of the Measure. Pre-Cataclysmic Knights knew that evil must be defeated and dishonor came from not using all available means to accomplish this. The dragontrap was safe and sure and much honor was earned in defeating evil dragons this way.

This is actually a pretty important thing for the PC's to do, as it's one of the largest morale boosts they can give the troops outside, as well as negating the Dragonarmies' air power advantage in the area. It also fucks up draconians, making them go temporarily insane and forcing them to retreat from the field of battle, so if the party pulls this during one of the Dragonarmy's attacks, they'll suddenly negate a massive number of their troops and likely secure themself an easy victory and some breathing room.

Adding to the party's collection of pets, the tower also allows them to pick up an ethereal black cat and dog to complement their sabertooth kitten and polar bear.

What about that crown, though? Well, Yarus was killed in the tower at the time of the Cataclysm, and he was a seriously powerful dude, a 23rd-level cleric. If the party brings his crown to his corpse, they resurrect him as mighty ghost skeleton pope who helps turn the tide of battle. At the same time, by finding an enchanted chess piece they can also revive a legion of good-aligned undead knights to assist the besieged forces. Doing either, or especially doing both, is almost a guaranteed victory for the defenders. The GM is encouraged to still run it by the BATTLESYSTEM(tm) or the simplified resolution, but the massive bonuses are essentially undefeatable and you might as well just narrate how every craven fascist on the battlefield is gutted by a ghost or turned to ash by the pope. The commander of the good ghosts is also an absolute monster, if he got into a fight with Lord Soth, there's a good chance that he could smash ol' Buckethead to bits.

If I remember the books right, the party activated the dragon trap, but didn't awaken the allied undead, and this is where Sturm canonically eats poo poo getting stabbed by Kitiara, Caramon and Raistlin's half-sister, who's the leader of the Blue Dragonarmy.

Now, though, I bet this is making this dungeon sound real simple and easy, isn't it. Like a walk in the park that you'll get over and done with in an hour's time with enough left to narrate the party's victory dance on top of a dragon corpse. How could the party possibly run down the clock while exploring this place?



I'm going to borrow a term from the British here and say that this dungeon is loving mental. Please, I encourage everyone to copy the URL and look at the true size of this loving thing. It does look loving cool, though, heck yeah.

Anyway, assuming the party doesn't eat poo poo, they've given the forces of good their first real military victory against the Dragonarmies since the start of the war, likely taken out multiple dragons, embarrassed Lord Soth and Kitiara, and awoken Palanthus to the danger it's in, rallying its army for the side of good. It's a good day's work, and relatively unrelated to the metaplot, and best thing yet: there's no loving Fizban present. Obviously DL8 has some weaknesses since it relies on the GM having and being willing to use Battlesystem rules to really come into its own, but even without that, some solid descriptions alongside the simplified battle rules could easily make the players feel like they're in the middle of a war and that their actions matter. I nominate this as the best Dragonlance module so far, and it only took us eight of them before there was one I didn't just poo poo all over as a piece of garbage!

Kree! Finally a module with some positive undead representation! We're not all villains, you know!

Even D&D can be progressive sometimes, Skeleton Warrior.

Next! DL9: Dragons of Deceit

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Seems somewhat uncharacteristically cool and rewarding when compared to the rest of this poo poo.

Kenders are still the worst, sabotaging the meeting for shits and giggles.

What's the timeframe of the campaign? Dragonarmies having conquered everything just after you do xar tarkoth seemed like some blitzkrieg bullsjit.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




PurpleXVI posted:

I have to admit I feel like the Modron March falls a bit flat without Dead Gods as a follow-up. Some segments of it stand well on their own, but the general March itself kind of... lacks any sort of real "hurrah! we did it!"-goal at the end without the lead-in to Dead Gods. Not to mention... outside of general planar philosophy and politics, what are the consequences if the March gets stopped? Does it gently caress up the planes in any way? There aren't really any stakes if the players aren't invested in the Modrons and/or the rule/survival of Law in general. If it the cessation of the March caused some sort of fuckup that even Chaotic characters might care about(well poo poo, gravity is now working at right angles, that ain't good!), it'd feel a bit more interesting.

Thank you for the review, in any case!

This is definitely true, and I think that's why it's designed the way it is-- you're not supposed to run it beginning to end the way you would a normal adventure, instead weaving it into a larger campaign. Given how short the scenarios are, it's appropriate as a series of monster-of-the-week style adventures with a modron theme. That may not be what your PCs are expecting, though, and if you're not invested in the outcome, it's very much "who cares?" If my PCs really loved modrons or really wanted this type of adventure, I would retool TGMM pretty extensively. I'd move the meeting with 8 all the way to the beginning, along with the stuff about the modron crucible, with the idea being that the PCs want to escort the March until it's finished so the crucible is fully loaded. I'd also want 8 to be more explicitly sympathetic to the March, wanting the PCs to help guard it at all the various points. The idea of a modron who's totally invested in the March's success, even though the Marching modrons themselves would love to tear it to bits for being a rogue, is pretty dynamic and interesting. Also, that'll make the PCs care more when 8 dies, and care more about the March as a whole making it through.

If my party was comfortable being a roaming band of standard-issue mercenaries, I'd feel better about weaving the March into a longer campaign, and incidentally using it to set up Dead Gods-- which is a large-scale mega-adventure that you can run start to finish and feel good about.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I never saw 1E Battlesystem, but if the 2E book is any indication, it was... pretty groggy.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

This is definitely true, and I think that's why it's designed the way it is-- you're not supposed to run it beginning to end the way you would a normal adventure, instead weaving it into a larger campaign. Given how short the scenarios are, it's appropriate as a series of monster-of-the-week style adventures with a modron theme. That may not be what your PCs are expecting, though, and if you're not invested in the outcome, it's very much "who cares?" If my PCs really loved modrons or really wanted this type of adventure, I would retool TGMM pretty extensively. I'd move the meeting with 8 all the way to the beginning, along with the stuff about the modron crucible, with the idea being that the PCs want to escort the March until it's finished so the crucible is fully loaded. I'd also want 8 to be more explicitly sympathetic to the March, wanting the PCs to help guard it at all the various points. The idea of a modron who's totally invested in the March's success, even though the Marching modrons themselves would love to tear it to bits for being a rogue, is pretty dynamic and interesting. Also, that'll make the PCs care more when 8 dies, and care more about the March as a whole making it through.

If my party was comfortable being a roaming band of standard-issue mercenaries, I'd feel better about weaving the March into a longer campaign, and incidentally using it to set up Dead Gods-- which is a large-scale mega-adventure that you can run start to finish and feel good about.

I also see some merit in TGMM if your assumption is that the PCs are not Planescape characters. With some retooling, it could be a convenient excuse for otherwise Prime-bound PCs to visit the Planes now and then, gradually getting introduced to all the Outer Planes.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I would do anything to help Modrons specifically because they are goddamn adorable.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


JcDent posted:

Seems somewhat uncharacteristically cool and rewarding when compared to the rest of this poo poo.

Kenders are still the worst, sabotaging the meeting for shits and giggles.

What's the timeframe of the campaign? Dragonarmies having conquered everything just after you do xar tarkoth seemed like some blitzkrieg bullsjit.

The timeframe is somewhat vague, to be frank, but let me see what I can do.

DL8 takes up a max of three to four months from start to end before the Dragonarmies launch their final assault on the High Clerist's Tower.

DL3 and 4 have a hard cap of ~8 or 10 days.

Assuming no detours or other weirdness, and not accounting for resting, DL1 is ~4 days.

DL2 takes at most a week if the players are really slow about it.

DL6, likewise a week unless the party gets lost on the glacier or otherwise gently caress around, which is very unlikely since there's literally nothing of interest off the beaten path.

DL7 starts with an assumption of six days spent at sea since DL6, this one has a lot of side areas and encounters the players could poke into, but if they beeline for the objective, probably another week at most.

So aside from DL8, each module is about a week, throw in another week to account for rough terrain, mistakes, trying to escape the map, resting, etc. and assume that DL8 takes the max amount of time, and you're hitting about six months, or half a year.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

JcDent posted:

What's the timeframe of the campaign? Dragonarmies having conquered everything just after you do xar tarkoth seemed like some blitzkrieg bullsjit.

There's also the question of what the Dragonarmies actually conquered. Most of the continent (by area) is dotted city-states or nomadic tribes. The Dragonarmies have dragons, and most cities surrender without a fight or with only token resistance, so it's not surprising that they managed to dominate most of the minor powers in a couple months given a half-dozen dragons could show up with a small army and conquer any city they want. The High Clerist's Tower is the first actually hardened military target they're trying to hit in force. The dwarves are largely safe underground still, the elves have been hit by a few minor raids but no large scale invasion. Kender got rolled over instantly, but of course they did.

Half a year also sounds about right, given that the entire war takes less than a year. The books follow the pattern of Dragons of <Season> <Time Of Day>, and that seems to literally match up with the season in-universe. Given that we started in Autumn Twilight and are at the climax of Winter Night, 6 months matches expectations.

Kaza42 fucked around with this message at 18:06 on Dec 18, 2019

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kaza42 posted:

the elves have been hit by a few minor raids but no large scale invasion.

By the end of DL2, Qualinesti is evacuated and the forests are a burning cinder trampled by draconians.

At the very latest by the start of DL6, Silvanesti has turned into a Silent Hill-esque horrorscape thanks to a failed attempt to conjure up a defense against the invasion.

This is why both groups of elves are present in Southern Ergoth, because their homelands got hosed and are no longer safe places to live.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Night10194 posted:

I would do anything to help Modrons specifically because they are goddamn adorable.

Fun fact: there's a hidden rogue modron party member in Planescape: Torment. He's voiced by none other than Dan Castellaneta.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Bieeanshee posted:

Fun fact: there's a hidden rogue modron party member in Planescape: Torment. He's voiced by none other than Dan Castellaneta.

This is a big part of why I think they're so cute! Nordom has improved, little guy!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


6 months to roll half a continent with medievalish tech seems... too little, unless you go hard on magic.

I didn't read TGMM's FnF, but will it be followed by Dead Gods? Asking as I'm gonna read TGMM on FnF.

Planescape feels like the most interesting DnD setting, followed by Dark Sun. Eberron just feels different without feeling interesting. The rest just feel like they could just be folded into The DnD Setting and nobody would notice.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The nice thing about Planescape is it works with anything. Want a break from whatever was going on? Send a bohemian mercenary and their crew to Sigil, accidentally kill a bunch of Mercykillers, end up hunted across time and space.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

I got to admit I'm a sucker for a nice looking grid map, and that tower there is refined grog cocaine.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


JcDent posted:

6 months to roll half a continent with medievalish tech seems... too little, unless you go hard on magic.

Well, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they've got five separate armies, attacking from all angles bar dead west, supported by the continent's only air force(dragons) and often pre-staged by spies(draconian "ambassadors") who talk the locals into not putting up any resistance(like with Tarsis and almost Palanthus). By the time DL1 starts, the invasion is already somewhat underway, it isn't day 1 of the invasion, if the party heads north of Solace rather than south or east, they bump into the camps of the Red Dragonarmy. Not to mention that pre-existing evil-aligned nations like the minotaur lands in the northeast and the smaller ogre kingdoms like the one on South Ergoth instantly throw their lot in with the Dragonarmies for the most part.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



SirPhoebos posted:

I got to admit I'm a sucker for a nice looking grid map, and that tower there is refined grog cocaine.

It *looks* awesome, but I can assure you that it's a colossal pain in the rear end to actually draw out during play.

feedmegin
Jul 30, 2008




JcDent posted:

6 months to roll half a continent with medievalish tech seems... too little, unless you go hard on magic.

Let me tell u about the Mongols

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



feedmegin posted:

Let me tell u about the Mongols

If they don't have any interest in securing their conquered cities (or decide to just raze the place to the ground), armies can move quite swiftly once they get a momentum going.

A typical army in the medieval times can march about 10 miles a day, an army that's primarily mounted can almost double or triple that amount.

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Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

PurpleXVI posted:

By the end of DL2, Qualinesti is evacuated and the forests are a burning cinder trampled by draconians.

At the very latest by the start of DL6, Silvanesti has turned into a Silent Hill-esque horrorscape thanks to a failed attempt to conjure up a defense against the invasion.

This is why both groups of elves are present in Southern Ergoth, because their homelands got hosed and are no longer safe places to live.

Oh man, I mixed up that timeline pretty badly then

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