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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:58 pm 
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@Tristen, OOC: misunderstood, thought you meant non-dragonqueen church.
IC: Shima says, "I asked them to heal a wound so that I could continue to help Ne-Chanz do a job that would get information on the whereabouts of the two women that stole from him. I suppose you could call it magnificent. Oppressive and intimidating could be alternatives."


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:02 pm 
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IC: "Oh, really? Wow, that's kind of difficult to picture. Was it just a large sanctuary with lots of rooms shooting off, or was it a long hallway? I think those were the two women who stole from me as well. I hear they're agents of the church now. What do you think about the dragon queen's church? I... i've heard a lot, but I haven't seen much good come from them myself... But you say they healed you?"

[The discussion would be in as private a place as they can manage. I.e. one of their rooms or something.]


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Sorry guys, deadline's here. I've put up the new chapter. You'll have to continue that conversation in-game.

Anything else that didn't get addressed will have to be done in-game, too. I'm pretty sure I included everything that was discussed in the new post, but let me know if I missed something.


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:23 pm 
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No problem. Thanks for the extra time


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:20 am 
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For each of the previous chapters Jaded had posted a comment about his reactions to the chapter, some of his plans and how they turned out (such as the chapter's name) and a breakdown of points earned by various people towards various deities. I always found this an interesting read, but I don't recall seeing such a post about the last chapter.

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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:34 pm 
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Yeah, I didn't post one for the last chapter. I didn't think anyone read them, to be honest. But I was so fatigued from the last chapter, I just skipped it. But I can write one up if there's actual interest for it. Or just answer any questions anyone might have about behind the scenes stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:52 am 
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Hi Jaded. I read them, quite interesting to know what was behind 'what happened to us'. But if it's a chore, it's fine, just skip it.

Moving on:
JadedDM wrote:
It is the morning of Autumn Dark 04th 23rd, Dream Dance, in the year 351 AC. It is First Watch...
Shima Longfoot (High Hand Inn, Room 7)...
(OOC: Shima is back to 21/31 HP. I've subtracted 1 silver from his account to pay for the baths and 4 steel (40 silver) for his room for the past 10 days. Spyguy hasn't logged in over a month, so I'm temporarily removing him from the game until he either comes back or I decide he's permanently gone.)

Going back into the dungeon single handed seems problematic , as a heads-up for you to think about, maybe the woman (in whatever tavern) might allow him to recruit a replacement.


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:41 am 
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I always read them and found them interesting. I was pretty sure I often replied to some pieces of each. Of course, not top priority, but it would be nice to see one up in the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, sorry, been really busy these last 2 days, I'll try to get a reply up later today (but I do need to do some thinking about what to do).

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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:49 am 
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I read them also, though i suppose i seldom commented on them. It would be interesting at the very least to see updated points with regard to dieties and organizations


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:32 pm 
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Chris1234 wrote:
Going back into the dungeon single handed seems problematic , as a heads-up for you to think about, maybe the woman (in whatever tavern) might allow him to recruit a replacement.

You can always ask.

==========

Okay, here's what I got:

Title and Theme
The title and theme of this chapter, 'Consequences,' was pretty self-explanatory. There are always consequences for any actions, and they aren't always good. Nor are they always expected.

Arulia's Mistake
This is one of those things where as a DM, I constantly second-guess yourself. Should I have told DJHyland that Arulia had the time wrong? Should I have dropped more hints when that time came and went (it happened while Arulia and Grubnick were with Haahqae, Miriam and Jaymes)? Was this why DJHyland quit my games? (He was butting heads with an NPC in my other game, so it might have been that instead. Or maybe it was both.)

Knowing what I do now, if I could do it again, I probably would have pointed out the mistake. But it wouldn't have really mattered, either. Arulia just assumed the dwarf Yvette and Xyleena was searching for was Shima. (It was, in fact, Delharn.) So if she showed up offering to turn him in, they would have dismissed her for wasting their time anyway.

Maybe the whole thing was doomed from the start. Arulia's plan was very poorly thought out, and I kept having NPCs (like Miriam and Jaymes) point out the flaws in it. Was she planning on assaulting/torturing Yvette and Xyleena? What was stopping them from reporting this to the guard immediately afterward? Was she planning on killing them? I don't think Paladine would approve of murder. And since Takhisian clerics can use 'Speak with Dead,' even if she got away with it, the guard would find the bodies and interrogate their spirits, and thus arrest her (and Grubnick and Haahqae if they aided) with murder.

Probably the best version of the plan was to just have Haahqae tail them afterward. But that presented problems, too. Once you found out where they lived, then what? Break and enter? How would they get into the noble district in the first place? The whole thing was pretty messy.

Rescue Attempt
I really didn't think Grubnick's attempt to rescue Delharn had any real chance of success. But I was surprised by how close he came to it. Had Haahqae warned Delharn what he was about to do or just handed him the potion and said something like, "I'm a friend, drink this if you want to escape!" it probably would have worked. Delharn would have been invisible and could have fled. Haahqae, already invisible, could do likewise. The real problem was Grubnick himself escaping. The baaz were faster than him, and while they had a hell of a time actually hitting him (even more so when he was tumbling), they would have, eventually, worn him down. His plan to try and turn the goblins against the baaz was a good idea, but I think Tristen forgot he dumped CHA. Grubnick would have a hard time convincing a kender go on an adventure.

Having one of the dragons destroy the tavern was the only way out I could see for him, but only if he made it out in time (even his fire resistance would not have saved him, unless I rolled really low on damage). He did, the army believes he's dead now, and we got to see just how powerful the dragons in the city really are.

Challenge Rating
The last two parts lead me to this one. The odds really are stacked against the PCs. They always have been. But that was the point of the game. This isn't a story about heroes who overthrow an evil government and bring peace to the world--that's the Heroes of the Lance. The PCs are just average citizens (well, as average as adventurers can be, I mean) fighting to stay alive under an oppressive regime. When I set up a challenge, I don't take into account the party level or how many people are in the party. I just go with what is realistic, based on the resources the army has and what their expectations of resistance might be.

For instance, I didn't use any magical traps or magical detection in the old fort when Haahqae broke in, because I felt like the army wouldn't consider the possibility. Instead, I had the vault protected by a masterwork (but otherwise mundane) lock and a sleeping dragon that could easily have been awakened. However, the army learns from their mistakes. Were Haahqae to try and break into the vault a second time, he would find it considerably more difficult now.

On the other hand, Magus' shop is protected by magical traps and wards. And since Magnus is high level (compared to the party), they are potent ones. Which is why I was nervous about Haahqae trying to break into it. He would almost certainly be killed in the attempt.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's best to assume that things will not be at a proper 'challenge level' (to borrow a 3E term) in this game. Don't assume, for instance, if you try and, say, break into the temple or the prefect's mansion, you'll only encounter level appropriate resistance. This isn't to say such feats are impossible. I thought Haahqae breaking into the vault was impossible, but he did it. I thought Grubnick freeing Delharn from over a dozen guards would be impossible, but he came surprisingly close. A good plan, good strategy and a lot of luck can make the seemingly impossible possible.

But one thing I would encourage is to always consider the consequences, even if you do succeed. Even if you pull off a crime, and there is no way to trace it back to you, it doesn't mean someone else won't be punished instead. Or some new oppressive law won't be enacted to make things harder for everyone. (For those of you who only read your own parts of the game and not the others, it's become a running gag that Kendra is desperately trying to tone down the prefect's paranoia and oppressiveness, but Haahqae, Grubnick, Gregeddin, etc., keep doing stuff that makes him even more paranoid and oppressive.)

I realize that this all goes against the idea of 'heroic fantasy' which is what D&D is at its core. I also realize that some of you entered this game not fully understanding that. (In my Gontoria game, I went through great effort to specify in a large post everything that was different about it from a normal game, in order to avoid this happening again; turns out most players don't bother reading it anyway :lol:). That's why I was willing to just end it if everyone was really unhappy with it.

I think after years and years of running games, now I'm always looking to do something different. I'm still learning what works and what doesn't work, though. That's part of why I always ask for feedback on things. There's also the problem that over time, players drop and new players join and eventually the original party (of Kynaston, Haahqae, Kendra, Khush, Gregeddin and Coroccoco, only two of the originals are still here!), can cause a game to lose focus as objectives and agendas change. Plus, I seriously underestimated how long this game would be (I figured around 3 years; we're now approaching our 4th year and haven't even reached winter yet, never mind spring!).

I don't know if this game will last to its natural endpoint or not. But I have started working on my next Dragonlance game, just in case this one does fall apart. (It's not about wars or occupations, don't worry.) But as long as you all are willing to continue on, so am I.

Divine Favor Updates
I gave Kendra a point in Sirrion for having an affair on her husband and Grubnick a point in Sirrion for trying to free Delharn on the fly. Grubnick is pretty close to reaching tier 2 now in Sirrion, which means he'll get a free henchmen.


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:20 pm 
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Righto.
The background was an interesting read.


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:25 am 
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Thanks for all of that, good read.

as for this bit:
JadedDM wrote:
His plan to try and turn the goblins against the baaz was a good idea, but I think Tristen forgot he dumped CHA. Grubnick would have a hard time convincing a kender go on an adventure.


Lol. Didn't forget, but a man(or goblin) hanging from a cliff will grasp at straws ;)

Grubnick didn't really think he would succeed either, but knew he didn't have time to think about it. He figured there were 2 choices: Try to get lost in the crowd of goblins or the rooms (small chance with so much attention on him) or try to get them to react to the draconians long enough for him to escape. Grubnick (and I) were really surprised there was no back exit, but the tiny window was a nice touch.

Out of curiosity, why did the baaz not order the goblin soldiers to vacate before the 'air strike' came in? Just didn't care, or...?


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:50 pm 
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Title and Theme:
This makes perfect sense from Haahqae’s perspective; but often the title is about something more then just one character, and I don’t follow other characters that strictly so I wasn’t sure how well this applied to everyone else.

Arulia’s Mistake:
This is a tough point from all perspectives. I was somewhat caught off guard by this in that I don’t read posts to other players very closely, if at all. Looking back, Haahqae had nearly no time to warn Arulia even IF I had been paying attention to information she knew and he didn’t; since the meeting was scheduled to happen at approximately the same time as she went to meet Haahqae, give or take 1-2 pages of posts. I’m not sure what I would have done if I was DM and such a situation arose, but I may have resorted to sending the player a PM to warn them.

As it was, it was disappointing that Haahqae spent over half the chapter with very little to show for it, but I think he could have worked with Gobax and Arulia to turn the situation into a bonding process to unite them with a new bond of friendship and trust that could be useful to face challenges in the future. Instead, Arulia/DJHyland quit, which kind of prevented that opportunity as well.

Now I’m wondering if it is appropriate for Haahqae to turn Arulia in. This comes down to a number of factors I need to consider.
• As a player, I do not like doing something that overtly harms another fellow player in a massive way, such as turning them over to hostile authorities. This is partially because of some player-to-player code of ediquate that I follow, and partially because the odds are stacked so heavily against the players in a campaign like this, we don’t need party infighting to make it harder. However, now that DJHyland quit, does that make it fair game to turn in his character?
• As a player struggling to do anything right, and working hard to come up with plans that could even afford him a small gain; the simple act of turning over a cleric to the church with almost no planning or preparation feels like it’s way too easy to get way too large a gain and that anything that too good to be true, probably isn’t. What would be the consequences of such an action? I must be overlooking something.
• As a character, Haahqae is not impressed by the church and he’d rather not turn over any good clerics to them if he has another option. But he has no qualms turning over evil clerics to them. However, I’m not sure if Haahqae ever managed to figure out that she was a true cleric and if so which god. I’m going to have to go back and reread a chapter or two to figure that out.
• As a character, Haahqae’s mainly antagonized by the army, not the church, while turning in heretics appears to be getting him a reward from the church and not the army. This means that he doesn’t mind helping them as much, but at the same time getting their favor doesn’t appear to help him as much in completing his goals.

Which leaves some very substantial benefits for me both as a player and as a character if I turn her in, but also a slew of meta and in-character problems which I need to think about before I do something like that.

Rescue Attempt:
Like Jaded, I never considered this to have much of a chance, if any, from the get-go. Even if we had managed to slaughter the entire patrol and run off with Delharn, where would we hide? Delharn had been paraded around the city and there were plenty of witnesses on the site of the battle that could identify Grubnick (and Haahqae if he broke invisibility), which would have made hiding him even harder then Haahqae hiding Ismene after he broke her out. And Haahqae hasn’t found a solution even for that with planning and foresight. Certainly doing something similar without planning was doomed to failure, even if we won the encounter.

This is why Haahqae remained invisible for the entire fight, and didn’t risk speaking to anyone. He couldn’t prevent the encounter from happening, but he had plenty of enough problems already so he didn’t want to introduce a few new problems by visibly backing a doomed scheme antagonizing the army.

Challenge Rating:
This is something Haahqae is struggling with; as Ismene’s capture has focused all his effort on a task which logically is well above his power or influence as a character to correct. However, it’s also not something that he can put aside as a character, so he’s kind of trapped in a loop of trying stuff and failing repeatedly; which isn’t very fun for me to play. Meanwhile the flip side of having an emotional breakdown and doing nothing doesn’t sound very interesting or fun either. I feel as a player that sitting around and doing nothing will not equate to a proper challange-rating encounter wandering past that Haahqae could interact with, this is a large part of why Haahqae is so pro-active. Because of all this, I’m consistently struggling to figure out jobs which are within Haahqae’s abilities to pull off, and still can build towards his goals that seem unobtainable right now.

This is a large part of why the last couple of chapters I’ve started with a lot of roleplaying and not much decisive action.

Divine Favor Updates:
I’m not really surprised that Haahqae didn’t have any divine favor updates, as he didn’t really do much last chapter; just a couple failed schemes and a lot of roleplaying.

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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:21 pm 
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TristenC wrote:
Out of curiosity, why did the baaz not order the goblin soldiers to vacate before the 'air strike' came in? Just didn't care, or...?

The real question to ponder is, why didn't the warning that was broadcasted to the draconians also reach the goblin soldiers, as well?

Haahque wrote:
Now I’m wondering if it is appropriate for Haahqae to turn Arulia in.

Well, from an in-character perspective, his turning in Arulia makes no sense at all. She never revealed to him she was a cleric or a follower of Paladine. She told Kendra and two of her sisters, and she alluded to it to Gobax. But not Haahqae. He has no idea.

That aside, you're right that from a PvP perspective, there's no real dilemma. Unless DJHyland does come back someday and decides he wants to resume playing his character. The odds of that strike me as quite low, though.

From a moral perspective, turning her in is a hardcore evil act. Not only would he be turning over a good person to an evil organization that would torture and kill her, he would likely be destroying her entire family (even if the church decides not to torture and kill them, too, without Arulia the family falls apart; with her father in jail, Arulia is the only one holding them together). I would rule Haahqae's alignment would be shifted to Evil, because even though it's an isolated incident, there's no way to justify his actions as anything else; it would be a slippery slope that he would likely never be able to redeem himself from. He would be destroying a good person and their family just to make his own life easier; there's no coherent argument on that being anything other than Evil with a capital 'e.'

However, if Haahqae somehow finds out her secret and assuming he doesn't care about the morality of it, then yeah, turning her in would be a huge boon to him. He'd be given a weapons permit, be made immune from taxes, receive a monthly stipend each month from the church (as he would become an official Agent of Takhisis), and would gain massive favor from the church. Even more so than the ones who turned in Delharn (Takhsis and Paladine are mortal enemies; there is no deity she hates more than him. Sirrion, in comparison, is nothing.)

Haahque wrote:
I’m not really surprised that Haahqae didn’t have any divine favor updates, as he didn’t really do much last chapter; just a couple failed schemes and a lot of roleplaying.

Actually, I stopped charting Haahqae's divine favor a few chapters ago. You outright stated you had no interest in Haahqae being religious or making a pact with any deity, so I figured it was unnecessary to continue tracking it.


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 Post subject: Re: WotL OOC Thread IV
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:13 pm 
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Yeah, going over it again I see that Haahqae has no idea that Arulia is a cleric, as far as he knows she's an annoying soldier who complains far too much and isn't very useful. Also she got the books he wanted to read burned. While he has plenty of reasons to dislike her, he doesn't have reason to think she's a cleric.

From a moral perspective, I think of it as not quite as evil as you make it out to be; at least from a character-perspective point of view. Haahqae doesn’t know that Arulia is a good person or worshiping a good deity, and her interaction with Haahqae was a very poor way of convincing Haahqae that she was indeed a good person. I’m uncertain of if he knows if her income is holding the family together, given his recent spying on her he may have figured that out. However if he did it, it would not be “just to make his life easier”, it would be entirely to get into the trusted books of the church, and to use that influence to make Ismene’s life easier (and to a lesser extent, make the lives of the city’s poorer folk easier). Haahqae himself doesn’t care about the wealth, the prestige or the weapons permit except for how they would help him pursue his goals.

Haahqae, on his character sheet is neutral, and while I’ve been playing him as more of a good character when I can, he does have very selfish acts to counterbalance it. Recently he’s been fairly charitable, as well as focusing all his effort on saving someone from a fate he unwittingly condemned her to, which I would argue are pushing him back towards the good end of the spectrum, I wasn’t considering a single evil act like turning over a good cleric to an evil church an act that would definitely label Haahqae as an evil character overall.

However, Haahqae doesn’t know about Arulia’s faith so far, and I don’t see much of a way he could possibly find out, so the point is rather moot right now.

And I also question Haahqae’s morality sometimes. Especially when he was turning selfish a few chapters back, I was questioning if he was becoming evil, if it made sense for him to be evil and if he was acting too good before then.

About divine favor; yeah that makes a lot of sense. I don’t recall outright stating that Haahqae isn’t interested in making a pact with any deity, but you’re right. He isn’t. If he made enough divine favor to be contacted by a deity, I was imagining the encounter to be rather awkward, and I don't exactly know how it would have turned out.

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