Author Topic: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters  (Read 3367 times)

Offline phaedrusxy

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New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« on: December 24, 2020, 10:21:30 AM »
My kids want me to run a game based on marvel, with them playing clones of Black Widow and the Scarlet Witch. They both want to run on the chaotic/neutral side of alignments, skirting between good and evil, and here is what I have so far.

The Scarlet Witch will be a sorcerer. My son's playing this character, and mostly making his own character creation decisions.

Black Widow I thought would be best approximated as a monk. I'm working on a mostly defensive-based (dodging) Monastic Tradition for her.

Monastic Tradition: Way of the Dancing Reed
You dance like a reed in the wind, allowing you to easily avoid attacks.

Sidestep: Starting at 3rd level as a reaction you may cause an attack that would have hit you to miss. You may use this once per encounter. You may also gain another use by spending a Ki point.

Blurred Form: Starting at 6th level, you are so fast and adept at dodging that it's hard for an opponent to predict your movements. As a bonus action, you may enter a frenetic dance that gives all opponents disadvantage on their attacks against you. This lasts a number of rounds equal to your monk level, and is usable once per short rest. You may also gain another use by spending a Ki point.

Houserules to the monk base class:
1) I'm super annoyed that the unarmed fighting style for the fighter gives higher unarmed damage than the monk's... So... I'm going to use the 3.5 unarmed damage table for them. Also, if all they make is a single unarmed attack in the round they get to double the damage.
2) Add Wisdom modifier to their Ki points.


I am having them start out as a pair of assassins trained from birth to work together for a secret organization that basically "polices" rulers. Here's what I have on it so far:

Librat Manus (supposed roughly to translate to Balancing Hands... but don't lecture me about Latin, please :D I just thought it sounded cool.)
Secret society of assassins, always working in pairs, and trained from birth to work with each other. One with a martial/stealth bent, and the other with magical powers. They're like a more evil version of the Harpers. They "monitor" the kings and other rulers, going after them if they are too oppressive (outright murdering the ruler is last resort, as it can often be very destabilizing. They more often "send messages", etc.)

For stat generation, I used the following home-brew method I found:
Two Strong, Two Good, Two Weak by Yunru
Roll 3d6 for two stats, these are your "weaknesses" - areas where your character simply isn't gifted or hasn't focused.
Roll 4d6k3 for two stats, these are your average stats, neither neglected nor specialized.
Roll 6d6k3 for two stats, these are your "strengths" - areas where you're either gifted or have heavily invested in.

Feel free to offer feedback/comments in this thread.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2020, 05:40:51 PM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2020, 03:42:50 PM »
My son doesn't even have Levitate yet, and he's already looking at the tables for dropping heavy objects on people. He's definitely a chip off the old block.  :lmao

The second session had both sharks and lasers, but not sharks with lasers on top of their heads, unfortunately. (Had some great rolls on the random encounter table I used  :lol).

After looking at the sorcerer, and comparing it with wizard... I'm a bit underwhelmed. Edit: In fact... I'm downright pissed off. Why the F does the wizard get extra spells prepared due to a high Int, but the sorcerer gets jack squat for a high charisma (other than a DC boost)? And also... the wizard has the same number of spell slots per day!!!!  :shakefist :banghead So... I'm already house ruling... lol. I am doubling the base Sorcerer Points (what a stupid name), adding the Charisma modifier, and reducing the cost to 1 point per spell level (no cap). Yes this allows them to Nova like hell, and cast a buttload of 9th level spells daily. I don't care. That's the intent. Suck it, wizards.
Edit2: After thinking about it, actually I don't even think this is "broken". At most you'd probably get about 50 sorcery points at 20th level, allowing you to cast five "extra" 9th level spells if that's all you did with them. It's probably better for the low level sorcerer, as at 2nd level with an 18 Cha you'd get 11 total first level spells. That's a lot, but you can still only cast 1 per round. (Unless you take Quicken at 3rd... which you should. However, then you're burning those points on metamagic, and not spell slots.)

I also improved the weak Wild Magic origin abilities in the following ways:
1) Ditch the Wild Magic chart, because you shouldn't be penalized for using your Fing class abilities
2) Allowing him to recover a use of Tides of Chaos with 2 Sorcerer Points, and changing it to a reroll (as with the Luck feat) instead of giving advantage.
3) I also made the "Bend Luck" ability at 6th level just force someone else to reroll. We'll almost certainly not get to 14th level, so I don't even care...

And... familiars being able to give everyone advantage on like every skill check ever is a bit annoying... I may have to limit that, but haven't decided how yet.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2020, 05:26:42 PM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2021, 08:43:29 PM »
Haaaa.
The multiverse's most dangerous children are at it again.
Yunru knows his stuff, that's probably fine.
Class abilities better be life saving, or you'll be hearing it from the other over-deity.
How does a flying snake know about the Dragon Below?


My niece has a hospital play set ; and Santa Claus was visiting.
I said :  Oh it's just a check-up.  Anybody who can run 100 000 marathons in one night is in tip top shape.
Your codpiece is a mimic.

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2021, 09:43:18 AM »
Haven't played this one in a while... My younger one (daughter) has been more interested in playing with her neighbor friend. :P So I started a solo game with my son where he's playing a 3.5 Psion. That's going surprisingly well considering I just threw it together based on some ideas he tossed out. I may start a new thread about it.
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2022, 04:05:10 PM »
We rebooted this, with some swapping out of characters. They're all 3rd level. My daughter is playing a paladin (Oath of Vengeance) she brought over from another game, my son is playing a hexblood sorcerer, and her BFF is playing a Way of Shadows monk. We picked up where we'd left off, which was just getting to the creepy cultist island in the Shadows Over the Moonsea module. Up until this point it's mostly been RPing and very little combat. They managed to predict that the "ghost ship" would be going to next, and go there, but the natives are proving... much less than friendly. They managed to get into a fight with hothead at the smokehouse (going from memory here, can't remember names), and then drag his unconscious body out into the street where they used it as a prop to try intimidating the rest of the townsfolk. The 3 old crones basically laughed at them, and then started "flirting" with my son's character... which he was thoroughly revolted by (success!  :lmao ). After some terrible rolls on skill checks but pretty good RPing, they managed to get the crones to agree to join them.
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2022, 10:29:53 PM »
Finally got back to this, and finished up this arc. The final battle was pretty epic (somewhat thanks to me inadvertently houseruling Turn Undead back onto the paladin :D ).

I used a heavily modified Shadows of the Moonsea adventure. I got rid of the "real" ghost ship entirely, and just had the two "factions": 1) the evil villagers who had made a pact with a demon (I changed it to be Dagon, and the thing the get in return is protection from Kuo toa... at the price of interbreeding with them, like in H.P. Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth"), and 2) the Cult of the Dragon (not two split factions, etc).

The kids had figured out the pattern of attacks of the "ghost ship" and came to this cursed village, which kept revealing itself as more and more creepy... until they finally uncovered the cave with an evil shrine in the woods, complete with a kind of cursed book (Tome of the Depths) and an idol (looks like Cthulu... which amazingly they didn't recognize from a picture... even though they know about him, and that I'm a big fan...).

They had interrogated a spy in the village who had been planning to poison the well the day before the attack (kids rolled well on an insight check when talking to him, and then used Charm on him...). So they knew that 1) the ship wasn't really manned by undead, 2) it was really part of a cult looking for artifact on the island, and 3) when they were attacking and what their general tactics were. So they had time to prepare (7 Samurai style). They put up some walls, draped thorns across them, and put poisoned caltrops down covering the only way left clear into the village. Just as they were having an argument with the "crones" who basically run the village over the evil idol they'd found, the "ghost pirate ship" attacked...

I had the main boss use a Seeming spell (from an item) to make them all look like zombies and skeletons. In fact, the actual minions were kobolds... but I had a bunch of innocent children that they'd taken hostage also mixed in with them... Luckily the PCs made some good rolls and heard the whining and crying of the children before they started swinging swords and throwing spells... The paladin made a good intimidate check, and got them to all throw down their weapons and run away so they'd know who to actually fight.

The cultist/villagers wound up using their "agreement" to summon 1d4+1 kuo tuo, which pretty effectively mopped up most of the kobolds (whose numbers I kept flexible... and basically added more in liberally as needed... the area was covered in rain and fog... so they never got a good head count :D ). I beefed up the main bad guy (Ixas, who was basically a cleric... who I added the water domain powers to, bumped up to 3rd level spells, and gave 8 undead: 4 skeletons and 4 zombies). He used Water Walk on him and the minions, and that threw the PCs for a bit... The sorcerer was basically having a spell battle with him from the dock while the Kuo toa got their asses kicked by the undead out in the water. The shadow monk threw a Silence up on Ixas to block his spellcasting, and one of the kuo toa caught him in a net. Finally, the paladin and shadow monk rowed out in a boat. I thought paladins still got Turn Undead (and now they do... spontaneous house rule :D ). 7/8 undead failed their Wisdom saves, and then they made short work of Ixas. We didn't RP them mopping up the cowering undead.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2022, 10:41:53 PM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2023, 12:08:03 PM »
The game continues! We've had a few sessions. Wanted to post a bit of catch up mostly for my own sake so I can remember what's happened (roughly).

They took the evil book and idol from the villagers, the bad guys ship, and all the stolen children and set off back home. Yelena (the shadow monk) had taken a feat for the Fighter fighting style Mariner, and so we said she is very well versed with all things to do with navigating a ship, etc. They ran into a terrible storm, forcing them to make an emergency stop at a mysterious island. As they were exploring a cave they found just off the beach, their exit was blocked by 8 dinosaurs! I used these stats, and let me tell you that 8 of them is a horrific encounter for three 4th level PCs. Luckily the sorcerer won initiative and threw a Web across the cave entrance before they had a chance to pounce... and that really, hugely turned the tide of the battle. They were mopping up the dinos as they escaped the web in ones and twos, until finally at a dramatic finale five of them got loose at once... The team work of the defensively oriented paladin guarding her blender monk friend, with the sorcerer staying back and blasting things, won the day handily.

They spent the next day exploring the island, and the sorcerer spent that night exploring the book (the Tome of the Depths... which is basically an aquatic/Cthulu themed version of the Book of Vile Darkness). He luckily made a save sparing him from permanent insanity, but his dreams have been troubled by horrific nightmares (every time he reads it, he has to make a DC 10 Wis save or not regain spells, etc, for resting that night). For his troubles, the book gives him Augury at will, the ability to summon 2d4 aquatic allies once every week, and I have been RPing it "whispering secrets" to him (I basically give him some cool tidbits from the ancient history/cosmology of my game world, which I sometimes just make up on the fly :D ).

They still have a creepy mirror that the cultists were using to communicate with their dracolich master, and the PCs even used it to talk to the dracolich once (very briefly). Now they want to investigate this cult and the menace of the dracolich more, and I'm trying to come up with where to go on that next... Going to play later today.

I've thrown in a couple of other cool magic items I found online for the other two characters (the sorcerer's main one is the book). The monk got these gloves. And the paladin got a fun sword that lets her talk to corvids from here: https://blackcitadelrpg.com/low-level-magic-items-5e/

I'm thinking of having one of the kids they rescued secretly be an Oni who has been spying on them, reporting back to the dracolich through the mirror, and will eventually try killing them. I'll say even the old "captain" didn't know (because the Oni was also spying on him...). Will use this for its actual form: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/645562927825173269/

OOOOH... even better idea... I'll have it murder the leader of their cell of Librat Manus, leaving them to make their own choices going forward, and giving them an enemy to really hate.  :lol

I'll have it commit this crime as a young black dragon is attacking their orphanage. (the city guard and NPCs will be helping out in this fight, if it gets out of hand) https://5thsrd.org/gamemaster_rules/monsters/young_black_dragon/
« Last Edit: January 29, 2023, 12:28:30 PM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2023, 07:59:17 PM »
So... I don't know how much you guys have been reading about ChatGPT (or using it...) but I plugged in most of the text of the posts above this, with another paragraph summarizing the last game, and about 5 more sentences added to tie it all together in a bit more coherent manner. Here is the final paragraph that I posted to ChatGPT:

I decided to plant a hidden agent/assassin in their midst, and say that the dracolich and its minions had decide to try and kill them, their leader, and to steal back the idol it wants. A young black dragon attacked the orphanage (which is the secret headquarters of their cell of Librat Manus), and while that was going on an oni attacked and killed the leader of the orphanage. I decided that the oni had been traveling with them in disguise as one of the rescued children, and will continue to disguise itself and follow along with them, waiting for an opportunity to strike at them and steal the idol. I am looking for ideas on what the dracolich might want the idol for, and what kinds of other adventures they might get caught up in, and when and how the oni should reveal itself.

And here are its responses (which are pretty decent):

Here are some potential plot ideas to continue your D&D game:

The dracolich: Have the dracolich become more active in the PCs’ lives. Maybe it sends some minions or lackeys to retrieve the mirror, or maybe it starts using magic to manipulate the PCs dreams. This can lead to a confrontation with the dracolich, which could take place in a dreamscape, a mirror realm, or a physical encounter.

The cult of the dragon: The cult is still out there, and they are not happy with the PCs for ruining their plans. Have the cult send assassins or other minions to track down the PCs, either to retrieve the mirror or simply to eliminate them as a threat. This can lead to some exciting and dangerous encounters, especially if the PCs have to defend themselves from multiple enemies at once.

The ancient underwater city: Have the PCs explore the underwater city mentioned in the Tome of the Depths. This could involve battles with aquatic creatures, encounters with strange and powerful beings, and uncovering the secrets of the city and its history.

The haunted ghost ship: The ghost ship that the PCs thought they destroyed may not be as dead as they thought. Have the ship return as a ghostly apparition, seeking revenge on the PCs for their earlier actions. This could lead to a series of haunting encounters, as the ghost ship and its crew try to take their revenge.

The invasion of the kuo toa: The kuo toa that the PCs encountered may not have been the only ones in the area. Have a large invasion force of kuo toa, possibly led by a powerful kuo toa priest, invade the PCs’ home town. The PCs will have to use all of their skills to defend their home and protect their loved ones from the invading force.

These are just a few ideas to continue your game. Remember, the possibilities are endless, so feel free to mix and match or come up with your own ideas. Good luck!
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2023, 08:13:46 PM »
Further dialogue with the eldritch beast...

Me:
I really like your idea about having the kids explore the ancient underwater city mentioned in the Tome of the Depths. Could you flesh out the ideas you mentioned for that a bit more?

ChatGPT:
Sure! Here are a few more details on the idea of exploring the ancient underwater city:

Location: The ancient city is located at the bottom of a deep ocean and can only be reached by a treacherous underwater journey. The characters may need to gather information and equipment, such as diving gear and underwater vehicles, to successfully reach the city.

History: The city was once a thriving metropolis, home to a powerful and advanced civilization that worshiped dragon-gods. However, the city was eventually destroyed by a great cataclysm, sinking to the bottom of the ocean and becoming lost to time. The characters may discover relics and artifacts that hint at the city's history and the beliefs of its people.

Dangers: The ancient city is now inhabited by all sorts of underwater creatures, including dangerous sea monsters and hostile underwater civilizations. The characters will have to navigate these dangers and solve puzzles to uncover the secrets of the city and retrieve the powerful artifacts hidden within.

The Tome of the Depths: The characters discover that the ancient city holds the key to unlocking the power of the dracoliches and that the cult seeks to control this power. The characters must find the Tome of the Depths, a powerful artifact said to hold the secrets of the city and the dracoliches, before the cult can get their hands on it.

With these elements, the players can have an exciting adventure exploring the ancient underwater city, uncovering its secrets, and battling against the forces of the dracolich cult.

Me:
The Tome of the Depths is actually not about dracoliches. It is heavily inspired by the Necronomicon from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The Tome of the Depths was written by a cultist that heard whispers from an ancient being locked away outside of the universe by the new gods. This being is older than the gods, one of the Old Ones. There is a pact among the gods that prohibits any of them from entering the mortal realm. All of the gods (and all magic users) basically feed on the power of souls to fuel their own powers. Modern gods mostly do this via worshippers who devote themselves intentionally to them, but the Old Gods simply devoured human souls directly. In the God Wars, these horrific beings were either destroyed or banished beyond the world, and the new gods created the Pact Primeval was written up, and signed by all the major powers, and enforced by them. Any being of higher than demigod status that dares to fully enter the Prime Material Plane risks the wrath of the combined might of all the greater powers, and any beings that have attempted to do so have either been destroyed or imprisoned. However, Dagon, the creature who inspired the Tome of the Depths, is such an ancient and powerful evil that if it were released even the combined might of the current gods might not be enough to defeat it. Even if they could, the resulting cataclysmic war would no doubt break the world and send civilization back to the stone age. I'm thinking that this idol that the kids stole may be a planar key that has some power to possibly set something in motion that might free Dagon. However, why would the Cult of the Dragon want such a thing? What other purpose could they have for it?

ChatGPT:
Interesting! The Cult of the Dragon is seeking to unlock the ancient being, Dagon, as they believe it will give them immense power. The idol they stole serves as a planar key that could potentially free Dagon from its prison outside the universe. The cultists believe that they will be able to harness the immense power of Dagon and use it to achieve their ultimate goal of ruling over the world. However, releasing Dagon would no doubt result in a catastrophic event that could threaten the very existence of civilization. The tension between the desire for power and the fear of the unknown consequences of releasing Dagon would make for an exciting and suspenseful adventure. The kids may be caught in the middle of this conflict, as they navigate through the underwater city, uncovering clues about Dagon and the pact of the gods, and ultimately deciding what to do with the powerful planar key they have acquired.
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2023, 08:20:27 PM »
Hmm... speaking with this beast has not been completely fruitless, although the last few responses weren't really that helpful directly as they just repeated some things I'd already said back at me...

However, I think I will say that what they actually want is both the book, because that allows the owner to communicate with Dagon. (The sorcerer has already been doing this some. He read parts of the book, and had other things projected into his mind both when he was awake and when dreaming.) While this can give the owner some measure of power (he can cast Augury at will, and summon aquatic creatures once per week to fight for him), it also risks "waking" Dagon up... and if he is disturbed too much, he may decide to test the walls of his prison... and maybe it has been so long that they have weakened.
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2023, 08:38:40 PM »
Me:
Give me a good description to read while the kids go into the ancient underwater city

ChatGPT:
As you approach the entrance to the ancient underwater city, you feel a sense of unease wash over you. The entrance is a huge stone archway, carved with intricate symbols and images that you can't quite make out. The water is murky and you can't see very far into the city. But as you move forward, you can see that the buildings are tall and imposing, their roofs covered in algae and seaweed. It feels like the city has been abandoned for centuries, but there is an energy here, a sense of something stirring deep beneath the waves. You feel like you are being watched, but when you look around, there's nothing there. You can sense a presence, though, like an ancient and powerful being that has been waiting for this moment for a very long time. You have a feeling that this place is not safe, and that you are walking into a trap. But you press on, driven by the knowledge that what you seek is hidden within these ruins. The water gets deeper and colder, and you can hear strange whispers and sounds echoing through the city. You take a deep breath and move forward, determined to uncover the secrets of the ancient underwater city.

Idea: the idol acts as a Knowstone, but one that scales with your max spell level, and the spell it stores can be changed daily if you have the Tome of the Depths.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2023, 10:59:16 AM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2023, 10:05:46 PM »
We've continued to play this, although I haven't updated in a while. In that time, ChatGPT has gotten MUCH better as a co-DM (it can spit out a character sheet for a given level/class/race in a few seconds, and is noticeably better at fleshing out plot, giving descriptions, etc).

There was an arc I'll add later before the current one where they went into an abandoned city of an extinct race of bird people to find a forbidden library. They were told about this by a coatl... but we'll save that story for another day...

I want to tell about the LAST game. Another guy about my age, his daughter, and her boyfriend (both those kids are around 13) wanted to join us. So we merged parties for a total of 6 PCs, and I decided to railroad everyone together by completely ripping off the opening scene of BG3 (spoilers ahead).



I had them all abducted by mindflayers in a nautiloid ship, and at least one of them implanted with a tadpole. The others were unconscious for a while, and I hinted that maybe some of them were implanted while unconscious (you start worrying about that headache you woke up with, etc :D ). They were quite a resourceful bunch, and two of them managed to free themselves from their pods while the ship was being attacked by githyanki on red dragons and skipping through the planes to lose them... The PCs even managed to kill one illithid, and actually evacuate the ship before it crashed. I had them land in Hades, and didn't give them an easy way back (this is where I depart BG3).

Instead... now I'm going to rip off (and modify heavily) part of the plot of one of my favorite westerns: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Except this time it's set in the Blood War instead of the Civil War, and the "bridge" they're going to be tasked to "blow up" is actually a planar conduit (root of Yggdrasil), and they're going to poison it, not use explosives. They fought a devilish patrol, took the offer of surrender from the last member, and managed to arrange a meeting with his Captain who will be the one to (eventually) propose to them that they destroy the "bridge" because he's tired of fighting and just wants to go home. :D
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2023, 08:12:09 PM »
Game is going well so far. We had session 3 today. In the first session, they were abducted by mindflayers, implanted with tadpoles, witnessed a fight between the nautiloid and githyanki riding red dragons, and escaped the ship as it was crashing after randomly plane shifting to Hades. They fought some devils, and wound up basically joining the devil army that's sieging an ancient black citadel that holds one of the roots of Yggdrasil, and is their best shot at getting home.

In session 2, they contacted an insectile devil surgeon, and negotiated with a hellwasp swarm to get a neurotoxic poison that would immobilize the mindflayer tadpoles so the surgeon could remove them (which he successfully did). They also heard the pitch from Captain Grimtooth (a vampiric gnoll in the infernal army) about poisoning the root to end the siege (because he's sick of fighting there).

In session 3, they lured some demons outside the Black Citadel, ambushed and replaced some of them (using a magic item that casts Seeming once per day), and successfully infiltrated the Citadel (which is controlled by a demonic army). They looted a hidden stash the devils told them about, and we left off mid-fight with them attacking the guardians of the Yggdrasil root (they successfully snuck into the inner part of the Citadel using Seeming and Pass without Trace/stealth, but one of the devils in the final room was a glabrezu with True Sight). They managed to avoid the vrock flying over head (stealth), ambush and kill one hezrou in a surprize round, and bull rush another one into a pit trap they'd detected and avoided. Then the glabrezou successfully hit them with a Confusion and 4/5 party members failed their saves (one was outside the area). Both the rogue (using a wand) and sorcerer tried and failed to counterspell it. So it was meant to be. :D We left off there at a big cliffhanger, which I love (and my son hates). Although they're only level 6, they've shown time and time again that they punch way above their level, and there are 6 of them now. So I'm definitely not worried about the glabrezou itself, although there is a definite fear of one of the confused party mates pasting the sorcerer if they roll badly. :P
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2023, 08:34:01 PM »
One guy showed up with no character aside from a generic concept (elven arcane archer). So I used ChatGPT to make a character sheet for him, and he promptly named the character "Bob", and the rest of the party began joking that he has amnesia (because he had no backstory). He's been kind of disinterested and mildly disruptive to the game. I thought I'd try making up something interesting and possibly funny/annoying to get back at him and hopefully drag him into being a bit more engaged in the game... and this is what I came up with (mostly this is going back and forth with ChatGPT, but honestly it didn't actually add much... I was just using it as a sounding board and place to store and organize my ideas a bit):


https://chat.openai.com/share/9fcb0528-b5e3-434e-94bf-2a5cac11bee6

Excerpts:

Me:
I think I want to play upon this "joke" and develop a background and plot for "Bob" based on this idea. I want to combine some elements of the movie Memento with others from the Planescape: Torment video game. In both, the protagonist had amnesia, and was manipulated by others to do things because of it.

I want to come up with an antagonist for Bob, who will likely be a devil in disguise (although their latest adventure involves them escaping from Hades, so they may be very quick to suspect a literal devil or something like that... so maybe just a nefarious mortal). This mortal will claim to be Bob's old friend/agent/butler or something like that, and will give him information that's supposed to be about his past, but will really be made up to manipulate him into doing what this character wants (probably something illegal/immoral like assassination or robbery, etc). In an earlier game I ran, I made a custom item called a "Thought Bottle" that could be used to store memories. It could be done as a "backup" in case your memory was erased/tampered with, or as a way to "hide" important memories even from yourself, in case you were captured/tortured/mindread. I think I'd like to incorporate this into Bob's story as well. The individual manipulating Bob (we should come up with a name and description, and also an alias, etc) will supply Bob with a thought bottle that supposedly contains memories of his past (his family being murdered, etc) but which are really not his, and are merely used to manipulate him.

ChatGPT
This is a fantastic plot setup for your D&D campaign, rich with intrigue and potential for dramatic twists. Let's flesh out this antagonist and the use of the Thought Bottle in Bob's story:

Antagonist Creation
Name and Alias:

Real Name: Varian Thorne
Alias: Eldon Greycastle
Description:

Appearance: Varian, under the guise of Eldon, presents himself as a well-dressed, middle-aged human with sharp features, a neatly trimmed beard, and piercing grey eyes. He carries himself with an air of sophistication and confidence.
Personality: Charismatic and articulate, he is adept at persuasion and deception. He exudes an aura of trustworthiness and benevolence, which masks his true manipulative and self-serving nature.
Background:

As Varian Thorne, he is a devil or a mortal deeply aligned with infernal powers, skilled in illusion and mind manipulation. His true motives are shrouded in mystery, but they involve intricate plots and the manipulation of others for his gain.
As Eldon Greycastle, he claims to have been Bob's trusted friend and confidant, spinning tales of their shared past and adventures, all fabricated to serve his hidden agenda.
Motivation:

Varian's ultimate goal could be tied to a larger plot in your campaign, such as destabilizing a kingdom, acquiring a powerful artifact, or eliminating a rival. He sees Bob's unique skills and amnesia as the perfect tools to achieve his ends.

Incorporating the Thought Bottle
The False Memories: The Thought Bottle given to Bob contains fabricated memories, such as witnessing his family's murder or being betrayed by a close ally. These memories are designed to evoke strong emotions like anger, sorrow, or a desire for vengeance, manipulating Bob into carrying out Varian's bidding.

Discovery and Revelation: As the campaign progresses, Bob might find inconsistencies in these memories or encounter individuals who contradict them. This could lead to a quest to uncover the truth about the Thought Bottle and the memories it contains.

Climactic Confrontation: The climax could involve a confrontation with Varian, where the truth is revealed. This could be a pivotal moment for Bob, offering a chance for catharsis and resolution.

Additional Plot Twists
Real Memories: At some point, Bob might come across a genuine Thought Bottle containing his real memories, leading to further revelations about his past and his true identity.

Varian's Vulnerability: Varian's connection to Bob and the Thought Bottle could be a double-edged sword. Perhaps there's a way for Bob to use the Bottle against Varian, turning his own weapon to the party's advantage.

Moral Dilemmas: The false memories might involve moral quandaries, forcing Bob and the party to make difficult choices based on information that may or may not be true.

This setup offers a rich narrative full of potential for intrigue, character development, and dramatic revelations. It's important to balance the revelations so that they feel earned and impactful, and to ensure that the player controlling Bob is engaged and enjoys the unfolding of their character's story.


Me:
I would like Bob to occasionally run into someone who has met him, find wanted posters of himself for crimes he has no memory of, and find secret hideouts where he has left messages and equipment for himself (hidden from Varian also). Help me flesh these ideas out. I think I will have the history of Bob involve the city of Baldur's Gate, as I just bought a book with a lot of information about that fictional city (and have played several video games set there).

ChatGPT
Incorporating elements like encounters with past acquaintances, wanted posters, and secret hideouts into Bob's story, especially with a setting like Baldur's Gate, can add depth and intrigue to his character arc. Here's how you can flesh out these ideas:

Encounters with Past Acquaintances
Unexpected Recognition:

Bob could be recognized by various NPCs in Baldur's Gate, ranging from former allies to old enemies. These encounters should be sporadic and unpredictable, adding to the mystery.
Example: A former comrade-in-arms who greets Bob warmly, reminiscing about a battle they fought together, leaving Bob confused and curious.
Mixed Reactions:

People's reactions to Bob can vary greatly, depending on his past interactions with them, which he doesn't remember. Some may be friendly, others fearful or hostile.
Example: A street vendor who suddenly becomes nervous and refuses to serve him, hinting at a past intimidation or wrongdoing.
Wanted Posters
Crimes He Can't Recall:

Bob discovers wanted posters with his likeness, accused of crimes like theft, assault, or even darker deeds. The details are vague enough to be plausible but not so specific that they give away his entire past.
Example: A poster in a tavern's notice board accusing "an elf of high skill in archery" for a high-profile assassination.
Bounty Hunters and Law Enforcement:

These posters could lead to encounters with bounty hunters or city guards, adding an element of danger and urgency to his quest for the truth.
Secret Hideouts
Hidden Safe Havens:

Bob finds hidden caches or safe houses throughout Baldur's Gate, which he apparently set up for himself. These could contain equipment, gold, notes, or clues to his past.
Example: A hidden compartment in an old inn room, containing a bow, some gold, and a cryptic note written in his handwriting.
Messages to Himself:

In these hideouts, Bob might find messages he left for himself, possibly hinting at his past actions or warning of future dangers. These messages could be riddles or coded to prevent others, including Varian, from understanding them.

Tying It All Together
Integration with Baldur's Gate: Use the lore and setting of Baldur's Gate to enrich these encounters. The city's diverse districts and infamous criminal underworld provide a perfect backdrop for Bob's mysterious past.
Gradual Revelation: The information Bob gathers should slowly piece together a larger narrative. Each encounter or discovery provides a piece of the puzzle but also raises new questions.
Player Agency: Ensure that the player controlling Bob has agency in how they respond to these revelations. They should feel like active participants in uncovering their character's past, not just passive recipients of a pre-determined story.
By weaving these elements into the tapestry of Baldur's Gate, you can create a compelling and immersive narrative for Bob that keeps the player engaged and invested in uncovering the truth about their character's mysterious past.

Me:
I want to have a child (about 10 or 11) come up to Bob on the street and deliver a letter warning him. When he asks who gave the child the letter, the child will say that he did, about 3 weeks ago, and paid him to give it to Bob himself when he saw him again, but to make sure he was alone and that no one else was watching.

ChatGPT
This scenario is a great way to deepen the mystery surrounding Bob's character and his forgotten past. Here's how you can structure this encounter:

The Encounter with the Child
Setting the Scene:

Choose a location in Baldur's Gate where this encounter will have the most impact. It could be a busy market square, a quiet alley, or near a landmark that might be significant to Bob's past.
The Child's Approach:

The child cautiously approaches Bob, looking around to ensure they're not being observed. The child's demeanor should be a mix of nervousness and seriousness, indicating the importance of the message.
Delivering the Letter:

The child hands Bob the letter, explaining that Bob himself gave it to him three weeks ago with specific instructions on when and how to deliver it.
The Letter's Contents
A Warning:

The letter should contain a warning or critical information that is immediately relevant to Bob's current situation. It could be a warning about Varian's manipulations, a hint about his true past, or a clue to his next course of action.
Bob's Handwriting:

The letter is unmistakably written in Bob's handwriting, adding to the authenticity and mystery. It might reference things only Bob would know, further convincing him of its legitimacy.
Cryptic Clues:

Include cryptic elements or riddles that Bob (and the player) will need to decipher. This could lead to new locations, NPCs, or plot points in your campaign.
The Child's Role
Limited Knowledge:

The child knows very little beyond their instructions. They were told to look for Bob and to ensure he was alone when delivering the letter.
Payment:

Bob apparently paid the child a notable sum for this task, suggesting the importance of the message. The child could mention this as proof of the encounter's authenticity.
Aftermath and Implications

Player Reaction: Allow the player controlling Bob to react and decide how to proceed. They might want to question the child further, investigate the letter's contents, or look into where they were three weeks ago.

Building Suspense: This encounter should raise more questions than it answers, driving the plot forward and deepening the mystery surrounding Bob's lost memories.
Integration with Ongoing Plot: Ensure that this letter ties into the larger narrative of your campaign, whether it's related to Varian's schemes, Bob's forgotten past, or another plot thread.
This encounter can be a pivotal moment in your campaign, offering new directions for the story and further engaging the player in the mystery of their character's past.

Further ideas: if questioned, the child will tell Bob that this isn't the first time they've delivered this letter, and that Bob has paid them to keep it and show up again later with it (a clue will be that the letter looks old and yellowed, and not something 3 weeks old...).

Me:
Also, I have a crazy devious idea: Bob will be a mindless clone created by an insane/evil wizard/crimelord who basically grows them in vats using magic, and "programs" them to go out and do his dirty work. The original "Bob" is probably either dead, or kept imprisoned to use as "source material" for the clones.

ChatGPT
Your additional ideas add even more depth and intrigue to Bob's story. Let's explore how these can be integrated into your campaign:

The Child's Additional Information
Recurring Deliveries:

The child reveals that this isn't the first time they've delivered the letter to Bob. This could have happened multiple times over months or even years, suggesting a cycle that Bob is unaware of.
The aged appearance of the letter, contrasting with the child's claim of a recent handover, will be a significant clue to the players.

Bob's Instructions:

Each time, according to the child, Bob instructed them to keep the letter and return at a later date to deliver it again. This could imply that Bob (or his previous iterations) knew about the cycle of forgetfulness and tried to leave clues for himself.

The Twist of Bob Being a Clone
The Insane/Evil Wizard or Crimelord:

Introduce a new antagonist: an evil wizard or crimelord who creates clones for nefarious purposes. This character could be connected to Varian or operate independently, adding another layer to the campaign's plot.
This antagonist uses advanced magic or alchemical processes to create and "program" clones like Bob, sending them out to perform tasks like theft, espionage, or assassination.

The Original Bob:

The original Bob could be a tragic figure, either deceased or imprisoned as a source for the clones. Discovering the fate of the original Bob could become a significant plot point.
If alive, rescuing the original Bob could be a major quest for the party.
Implications for Bob:

Discovering he is a clone could be a shocking revelation for Bob and the party. It raises existential questions about his identity, free will, and the nature of his existence.
This revelation could lead to a crisis of identity for Bob, compelling him to find a new purpose beyond the intentions of his creator.

Integrating These Elements
Gradual Revelation: The truth about Bob being a clone should unfold gradually, with clues like the letter from the child, encounters with people who remember "Bob" differently, and discoveries that challenge his understanding of himself.
Moral and Ethical Questions: This plot twist opens up opportunities to explore themes like the ethics of cloning, the nature of identity, and what it means to be human (or elf, in this case).
Player Engagement: Ensure that the player controlling Bob is comfortable with this direction and is actively engaged in exploring these revelations.
This storyline offers a rich and complex narrative that can deeply engage your players, offering them a unique and memorable D&D experience. Remember to balance the darker elements with moments of hope and opportunities for the characters to assert their agency and impact the world around them.

Me:
Some of the "clues" that Bob is a clone could be him hearing eye witness accounts of his own past deaths, including some in ways that would be impossible for him to have survived or have been resurrected from. I will of course hold off on using these until later in the course of unfolding this mystery. Heck... at some point, I might even have "Bob" find another dead clone of himself (or even witness their death).

ChatGPT
Incorporating these clues into your campaign adds a chilling and surreal element to the mystery surrounding Bob. Here's how you can effectively use these ideas:

Eyewitness Accounts of Past Deaths
Incorporating Accounts:

As the party travels and interacts with NPCs, Bob could overhear or be directly told stories about an elf matching his description who met a gruesome or impossible-to-survive end. These stories should be spread out and come from various sources to avoid immediate suspicion.
Example: A tavern patron recounts a tale of an elven archer who fell from a cliff during a skirmish, a death that would be impossible to survive.
Details and Reactions:

The accounts should be detailed enough to unsettle Bob and the party, especially as they align closely with Bob's appearance and skills.
Bob's reactions to these stories, especially confusion or an inexplicable sense of familiarity, can add to the intrigue.
Discovering Another Dead Clone
Stumbling Upon the Scene:

At a climactic moment in your campaign, arrange for Bob and the party to find the body of another clone. This could be in a dungeon, a hidden lab, or even in the aftermath of a battle.
The discovery should be shocking, providing undeniable visual proof of Bob's true nature.
Witnessing a Clone's Death:

Alternatively, Bob could witness the death of another clone in a situation where their identical appearance and skills are unmistakable.
This could be a dramatic and emotional moment, especially if the dying clone shares a few words or a significant glance with Bob.
Handling the Revelation
Timing and Pacing:

Introduce these elements gradually and at a pace that keeps the players intrigued without overwhelming them. The discovery of another dead clone should be timed to have maximum impact, ideally when the players are starting to piece together the truth.
Player and Character Reactions:

Be mindful of how the player controlling Bob and the rest of the party react to these revelations. It's important to balance the shock and drama with opportunities for the characters to process and react to these discoveries.
Further Plot Development:

These revelations can lead to new quests, such as finding the creator of the clones, uncovering the purpose behind their creation, or seeking a way to end the cycle of cloning.
Moral and Ethical Implications:

Encountering past deaths and another clone raises deep questions about identity, morality, and the value of life, especially a life that can be so easily replicated. This can lead to rich role-playing opportunities and character development.
By carefully weaving these elements into your campaign, you can create a deeply engaging and thought-provoking storyline that challenges your players and leaves a lasting impression. Remember to balance the darker aspects with moments of hope, discovery, and triumph to keep the campaign dynamic and rewarding.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2023, 08:39:41 PM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2023, 10:00:53 AM »
Game has been going well. We're deep into the "Bob Mystery" at this point. After seeing wanted posters, and hearing people give first-hand accounts of "Bob's" past crimes which included killing an old lady who had an alchemy shop, they started asking around town while Bob stayed hid. This drew some attention from the Flaming Fist, who cornered one of the PCs and questioned him under a Zone of Truth. He managed to say enough to put them off his trail without outright lying, which was a very entertaining RP scenario. Then another PC was approached by someone claiming to be "an old friend" of Bob's. If you've seen Memento, this is the "bad guy" who has been manipulating the main character into being his own personal hit man, basically. This NPC was a warlock of the great old one with a heavy focus on deception and manipulation. There was a particularly memorable scene where my son's sorcerer and the warlock are both using Detect Thoughts on each other at the same time, and realize it.  :lmao They then of course grew to mistrust this PC, which led to a fight where they killed him (disappointingly fast... as he was level 11 and they were 6th). He got two of them alone, and managed to Charm them both... but the sorcerer popped a Silvery Barbs and passed his 2nd save. The charmed barbarian then grappled the sorcerer, but the other PCs showed up and finished off the Warlock before he could escape.

Then I had them meet another Bob clone, who is the one who actually committed a bunch of these crimes, and they managed to subdue him without killing him. There was also some hints pointing at the fact that there might also be more than one version/clone of the Warlock they just defeated, also. So I can bring him back as a recurring villain. :D

During their investigations, the PCs wound up getting trapped in a crime scene (one of "Bob's" victims) with the Flaming Fist investigating the room above them. They escaped, but blew up the building and killed 15-20 Flaming Fist members in the process, and so now I think I'm going to send some particularly terrible bounty hunters after them. More to come about that in a separate post.
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2023, 10:20:48 AM »
So they've went a bit down the "murderhobo" path, and I think it will be more fun to have "consequences" rather than trying to talk to them outside of the game. They're mostly teens and pre-teens, and I was a total murderhobo when I first started D&D, and definitely wouldn't have been deterred by out of game talks by an adult. So I doubt they would, either. One of them is a paladin (of vengeance), and I'm going to have some public displays portraying the group as notorious criminals (funerals with crying families, a speech by a politician, maybe even an angry mob, etc). This will culminate with wanted posters looking for the "Sinister Six", and with a very high profile bounty hunter NPC coming after them. They were under the effects of a Seeming spell (from an item they got a while back), and so being able to link the crimes to them and track them down will be no small feat.

Enter Krogar, the Hunter (and his less well known, but oh so important partner).

Krogar, Forest Gnome Barbarian (Frenzy Path) 12
Background: A fearsome warrior known for his unexpected transformation and powerful combat abilities. His small stature in his natural form belies his formidable strength and presence as a werebear.

Ability Scores:
Strength: 20
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 20
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 8
Hit Points: 438 [max 18d8+12d12+(30x5)] or 294 if we drop the werebear racial HD (still debating... I definitely don't want him dying too fast, and ideally I think I'd like him to actually beat up and capture the party...)

Armor Class: 19
Attacks (raging): Claw +10 (2d8+7), Bite +10 (2d10+7)
Multiattack: can make 2 claw and 1 bite attack with the attack action, plus an additional attack as a bonus action when in a frenzy. Combined with the Extra Attack feature, this gives him a total of 4 claw and 1 bite attacks per round.
Speed: 50 ft. (climb 30 ft.)
Saving Throws: Strength +10, Constitution +10
Skills: Athletics +10, Wisdom (Survival, Perception, Insight) +7, Intimidate (str based when in hybrid) +10

Barbarian Features:
Rage (frenzy): 4/day
You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
When you make a melee weapon attack using Strength, you gain a bonus to the damage roll that increases as you gain levels as a barbarian, as shown in the Rage Damage column of the Barbarian table.
You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
Can make an extra attack as a bonus action while raging
Mindless Rage (immune to charm and fear while raging)
Relentless Rage (if dropped to 0, DC 10 Con save to stay at 1 HP. DC increases +5 each use)

Unarmored Defense
Reckless Attack
Danger Sense (advantage on Dex if can see source)
Extra Attack
Feral Instinct (advantage to initiative, and can always act in Surprise round)
Brutal Critical (+1 extra die on crits)


Feats:
Tavern Brawler: Proficient with improvised weapons, unarmed strikes deal 1d4 damage, and can start a grapple with an unarmed attack (or claw)

Special Abilities:
Werebear Transformation: Can transform into a hybrid werebear form as part of the same bonus action used to enter a rage. Gains natural weapons (claws and bite) and increased size and movement.
Damage Immunities: Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered
Lycanthropy: Any humanoid bit by Krogar must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with werebear lycanthropy. (I don’t even want them to be infected with this… so I might just lose this.)

Legendary Actions:
Roar: As a Legendary action, Krogar can unleash a terrifying roar. Each creature within 30 feet must make a Strength saving throw (DC 18) or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Powerful Blows (Legendary Action): Once per turn when Krogar hits with a claw attack, the target must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 18) or be knocked 15 feet away, prone, and stunned until the end of Krogar's next turn.
Legendary Resistance: If Krogar fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead (3/day).

Combat Tactics
Roar + Rage: Krogar enters battle with a terrifying cry accompanying his transformation.
Powerful Blows: Utilizing his special claw attack to control the battlefield, he swats away a target that resisted his Roar, knocking them prone and stunning them.
Frenzied Assault: Krogar uses his Frenzied Rage to make multiple attacks, focusing on the most threatening opponents and using the free grapple ability from Tavern Brawler to   keep them from escaping.

Role in the Campaign
Krogar's unique combination of Barbarian rage and werebear transformation, along with his Powerful Blows ability, makes him a formidable opponent. His presence on the battlefield requires strategic thinking and coordination from the party to overcome. His lawful good nature and the non-lethal intent of his Powerful Blows add complexity to his encounters, potentially leading to interesting moral dilemmas and role-playing opportunities.


Laryssa, the Halfling Bard/Rogue https://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/?id=2860182
Race/Class: Halfling (Lightfoot for the Charisma bonus)/Bard 10 (College of Lore for additional skills and cutting words) and Rogue 2 (for Cunning Action)

Background: A former spy or scout, Laryssa has honed her skills in stealth, espionage, and charm. Her small stature and unassuming appearance allow her to easily blend into crowds and go unnoticed.

Abilities and Skills:
Charisma: High, primary ability for Bard spells and social interactions.
Dexterity: High, important for stealth, acrobatics, and ranged attacks.
Skills: Expertise in Stealth, Deception, and Persuasion. Proficient in Acrobatics, Insight, and using Thieves' Tools.
Bard Abilities: Bardic Inspiration, Jack of All Trades, expertise in key skills, and spells focusing on charm, illusion, and information gathering.
Rogue Abilities: Cunning Action (allowing her to hide as a bonus action)
Spellcasting:
Cantrips: "Message" for covert communication, "Vicious Mockery" for a ranged attack.
1st-3rd Level Spells: "Charm Person," "Disguise Self," "Enthrall," "Invisibility," and other utility or control spells, as well as some buffs for Krogar (Haste would make him truly terrifying...).

Equipment:
Armor: Light armor for mobility.
Weapons: A shortbow for ranged attacks and a shortsword or dagger for close combat.
Magical Items: Items that enhance her stealth and espionage abilities, such as Boots of Elvenkind or a Cloak of Elvenkind.

Combat Tactics
Hit and Hide: Laryssa uses her Cunning Action to hide after casting a spell or making an attack, making it difficult for enemies to target her.
Spellcasting: She focuses on spells that control or distract enemies, like "Confusion," while staying hidden to maintain concentration.
Mobility: Her small size and agility allow her to move through the battlefield with ease, finding new hiding spots and vantage points.

Role in the Campaign
Laryssa's combination of Bard and Rogue abilities makes her a versatile and elusive adversary. She can gather information, create distractions, and support Korgar in combat with her spells and sneak attacks. Her ability to stay hidden and move undetected adds an element of surprise and strategy to encounters, challenging the party to adapt to her hit-and-run tactics.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2023, 11:08:42 AM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2023, 11:58:09 AM »
Haven't done the bounty hunters yet. They did decide to "turn in" the Bob clone that they captured that had committed some/all of the crimes from the wanted posters. They questioned him extensively at first, of course. They learned that he also had a limited memory of the past, but his went back about six months. Their interrogation led them to conclude that he had obviously been manipulated into committing all of these crimes by Varian.

When they went to turn in Bob, I had a politician giving a speech about the tragedy/terrorist attack that had occurred the night before to the families who were gathered to see if their loved ones had been among the dead. She vowed that the culprits would be caught and brought to justice, and announced there was a 10000 gp reward. There were also wanted posters for the "Sinister Six" with pictures of their illusory disguises they had been wearing when they blew up the butcher shop full of Flaming Fist/policemen. The description of the grieving families hit the player of the sorcerer (my son) so hard that he almost teared up in real life.  :lmao

That night, I had their couatl "guardian" visit them in a collective dream. She taught the sorcerer the Ritual Casting feat as a boon, and ultimately said she'd been Scrying on them and the people they'd interacted with, and had seen Varian entering a sewer tunnel that blocked her Scrying from penetrating it. This led to the final adventure of this "What About Bob?" arc. The rogue PC has a passive perception score of 19... which makes most traps a waste of time. I decided that I really wanted to try catching them in some traps for once... and had the pressure plates be beneath the water level in the sewer (making them not detectable with passive perception, and giving disadvantage on checks to find them). Well... they still managed to figure out a way to find them easily. The rogue has a unique familiar/spider dagger, and she had it crawl around beneath the water surface and she used its sight to detect all the traps... I had an Indiana Jones style giant boulder, and some other really nasty ones... that never got used...  They did set off the boulder trap just out of curiosity, but only after they were all safely on the other side of it... :rolleyes

However... this noise did justify the "BBEG" hearing the commotion, and prebuffing because he knew they were coming.

I decided to have an illithid arcanist be the "BBEG", and the fight took place at his "cloning laboratory" where he had been making all the "Bob" clones. I swapped his spells around and gave him a troll thrall to make the fight more lethal and memorable, and this actually went beautifully. It was the first time I felt I was able to actually challenge the whole group, getting most of them down to 1/2 hit points, but wasn't too lethal (no one actually dropped).

Encounter 3 (cloning facility): 1 troll (thrall, breastplate +1, for AC 16), 1 mindflayer arcanist with customized spells (spell slots in parenthesis shows remaining/total after the fight):
Cantrips (at will): mending, minor illusion, mage hand, fire bolt
1st level (3/4 slots): detect magic, disguise self, shield, sleep
2nd level (2/3 slots): Scorching Ray, invisibility(conc), mirror image
3rd level (0/3 slots): clairvoyance(conc), lightning bolt, blink
4th level (2/3 slots): https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/vitriolic-sphere, illusory terrain
5th level (1/2 slots): animate objects(conc), modify memory

I had a comical scene where the mindflayer's lair actually had a nice cobbled street leading up to it, and signs saying "Keep Out", "No trespassing" and "Violators will be eaten" as they approached the door to its lab.

Since they set off the boulder trap, the mindflayer knew they are coming and prebuffed with the following:
Mirror Image, Blink, illusory terrain, and Animate Objects (conc)
It mindblasted them through a small opening in the door as they approached, then sent the troll and animated objects to attack them. The objects were six small animated objects (as per spell description) and one rug which I treated as a rug of smothering but with 50 hit points (per a large Animated Object). After the initial mindblast, the mindflayer retreated to inside part of the Illusory Terrain and blasted them with a couple of lightning bolts while they were tangling with the troll and animated objects.

The thing that really saved the party was that the sorcerer decided to buff with Mirror Image himself just before the fight started... This led the Animated Rug to miss him (hit an illusory double), and then let him Counterspell the first Lightning Bolt from the Illithid. If this hadn't happened, I'm sure one or more party members would have been dropped to zero or died. The paladin and barbarian were both stunned for 4 and 5 rounds, respectively, and effectively removed from the fight. The enemies focused on the ones that were not stunned, and the rest of the party somewhat stupidly continued to fight with the animated objects and troll rather than immediately going after the hidden spellcaster. They paid for this as he continued to rain more Lightning Bolts down on them... Eventually the paladin made her save, and charged over inside the illusory wall with him. He had actually blinked out, and so at first she saw nothing, which allowed me to have him dramatically appear all around her (he and his 3 illusory doubles) and try to eat her brain.  :lol The rest of the party (besides the still paralyzed barbarian) had finished off the troll and animated objects by then, and finally decided to go after the caster.

However, the sorcerer commented that he was so impressed with the Animate Objects spell (which he was unaware of both in and out of game) that he would love to talk to the spellcaster and learn how he did it. I asked "Did you say that outloud in character?" and he said "Sure" and made a great persuasion check. So... they decided to stop the fight, call a truce, and basically became allies with the rogue illithid.  :lmao He's basically a completely amoral "absent minded scientist" and (from what he told them)  hadn't really been aware of what nefarious purposes Varian had been putting his clones to use on. (This is partially true... but he also didn't really care... because he sees humans and other mortals like a cat might see a mouse). He agreed to swap spell knowledge with the sorcerer, and they agreed to supply him with fresh bodies for his cloning research...  :flutter

He revealed most of what he knew about Varian, and his own experiments, but was obviously withholding some things (which they picked up on via Insight checks). They decided to not confront him for now, but go along with being his (at least temporary) ally. If they continue allying with him, I plan to use this as a way to create "backups" of their characters (via cloning bodies and copying their minds in my version of the "Thought Bottle"), and also give them the opportunity to change their character builds a bit (the illithid has Modify Memory, and I played up how he is basically so skilled at it that he can use real memories taken from one creature and "patch" them into another one, etc, enhanced by his experiments and equipment).




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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2024, 04:32:54 PM »
Ran a short adventure with just 3 of the PCs during the holidays (the others were traveling). The dwarf barbarian had asked for a magic item (bracers) to grant advantage on all saves against all magic used against him. I thought this seemed like a good opportunity for a quest, and came up with one that was also a way for the paladin and sorcerer to seek some redemption. They were joined by an NPC cleric (who will be my PC when the dwarf player swaps into the DM's seat in the future).

They headed to the underdark to find an aboleth who either had the bracers, or knew something about them. After discussion, they basically decided to make it a straight up assassination and to just stick the dude's brain in a jar (provided by their new illithid ally), rather than try to negotiate with him for the information while he was still alive and in his own turf. They pulled it off almost flawlessly, too. I kind of wish I'd taken a bit more time and drawn this out over a few adventuring sessions, but due to time constraints that didn't feel like an option. They basically used stealth and magic to sneak past almost all encounters (they did fight some drow) right up until they surprised and quickly murdered the aboleth (it didn't even get to take a single action... :D ). I plan to still have it able to use its telepathy and enslave abilities, and so that could still lead to some fun shenanigans. I also plan to have the NPC cleric take the brain (his deity is the Raven Queen, and she wants it for all the secrets it likely holds). I'm debating on just having him straight up steal it, but also would like to be able to play him with the group in the future without being immediately murdered... so I have a bit of a conflict of interest. 

I already hinted that the aboleth knows how to craft the bracers the dwarf wants, and if the cleric steals it before they get that information, he'll definitely be unhappy. :lol
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 04:52:19 PM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: New campaign for my kids based on Marvel characters
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2024, 03:52:52 PM »
My son's sorcerer has a cloak that acts as an enveloping pit, and they have been using it as a mobile base. I decided to make this even more fun, and said they found a secret door in one of the walls. However, they couldn't figure out how to open it, and I left them hanging for a few months IRL. During that time, a friend ran a couple of games in the same campaign and I got to play for a change...

A few weeks ago, I ran another one and picked that plot back up and had them finally figure out how to open the secret door. They had originally gotten the cloak off the corpse of their mentor (who ran the orphanage that was secretly a training ground for an organization much like the Forgotten Realms' Harpers). She already had it set up as a study, with several book shelves, chairs, etc. On the shelves, they found several tomes on an ancient civilization that they could only read with Comprehend Languages. They eventually figured out that several of these mentioned a character known as The Maestro, whom they deduced was the owner of the cloak (I can't remember how).

They eventually figured out that they could open the secret door by playing a refrain from one of his compositions. The door led to an ancient tower that appears to be floating in a void of nothingness filled with arcane wonders. Each floor was a kind of puzzle, and also contained even more books discussing The Maestro and other characters and stories from his civilization. I also wanted to mix in some Cosmic Horror, and so had some of them be things like The King in Yellow by Robert Chalmers, and had this play roles in some of the puzzles.

The first floor was a garden with a pool surrounded by trees with different color leaves and fruits. They never actually figured out the mystery here, but the pool can actually be transformed into a portal that goes to something like the Wood Between the Worlds from CS Lewis' works. There was an arcane elevator at the far end of the chamber. They eventually figured out how to activate it, and went to the 2nd floor.

The 2nd floor
This was a concert hall with a spectral composer. In order to get the elevator to go up further, the party had to figure out how to correct the score he played for them which they noted had a mistake.

The 3rd floor
The elevator opened onto a dressing room with several mirrors and wardrobes, with doors leading from it to a couple of bedrooms, and also a bathroom. The mirrors were magical traps, and anyone looking into them was immediately sucked in and had to battle against their doppleganger. The first one to draw blood won, and got to escape the mirror, while the loser remained trapped. Two of the three party members who looked at mirrors wound up being replaced by dopplegangers... (my daughter's paladin was the only one who explicitly said they were not looking into a mirror). The battle and resulting replacement happened instantanously, and so the paladin didn't note that anything had happened. I had them go into separate rooms to briefly play through the combats, and then tell them the results. I had the ones who were "replaced" roleplay their dopplegangers with some general instructions on what they were supposed to want/do (basically... kill the other party members then escape into the world to cause mayhem). Luckily the party sorcerer had managed to beat his doppleganger through good use of Counterspell, Silvery Barbs and Quicken metamagic... so he and the paladin eventually got the upper hand against the two dopplegangers (who were a barbarian and fighter).
This was definitely the most dramatic and memorable part of the tower, and my daughter later said she even felt creeped out looking into mirrors after that, and was afraid she'd have nightmares. :D

The fourth floor was a library. They had to bring some books to trade in for books on the shelves, and do everything silently, in order to win the favor of the librarian and pass to the next floor.

The fifth and final floor was an art museum with statues (some of which were horrifically twisted, and all of which were petrified creatures), a piano, and a case within which was the "Comedy" Mask. There were also some stone golems mixed in with the statues, one of which was wearing the "Tragedy" mask. This mask wearing golem animated, and basically told them to GTFO. There were arcane turrets in the room that were also obviously under it's control. The party did eventually leave without a fight, but managed to contrive a plan. They spoke long enough with the construct (from a distance that it didn't find threatening) to learn that the Maestro hadn't been to the tower in a very long time. They eventually decided to try contacting him via a Sending spell, and basically told him that they'd spoken to his guardian golem and they and it were "worried about him". They explained that they had his magic cloak, and invited him to meet with them the next night in a bakery... and he replied and graciously accepted. And that's where we left off.
I don't pee messages into the snow often , but when I do , it's in Cyrillic with Fake Viagra.  Stay frosty my friends.