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Mind Games

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So... started ANOTHER game for my kids. :P This time, we're using 3.5 rules again because my son wanted to be a psion. He is nuts over Wanda/the Scarlet Witch, and after discussion he decided that Psion reproduces here better than most other classes could. He decided to base his looks and general attitude off Loki, but powers off her. Mechanically his race is Kalashtar, and I'm running the game in a modified Eberron setting (using the maps, some NPCs, and overall setting, but making some major changes like dropping racial/bloodline restrictions on Dragonmarks, having warforged basically be cheap golems, etc).

During our brainstorming session, the backstory we came up with is that he's a prince, who has an older sister who was destined to rule. He wanted to rule instead, and tried to "sabotage" her (even going as far as having her kidnapped at one point, but she escaped) and wound up being exiled. Eventually his parents died, and she became ruler. He was very angry and bitter and joined a cult for a while that was bent on world domination, starting with his own homeland. They did an "experiment" on him, altering him mentally to turn him into a "weapon", but then he ran away. He has since been on the run from the cult, and trying to get back to his kingdom to warn his sister about them. His starting "cover" was that he is an actor (with a hat of disguise, and a good bluff skill) and is traveling around with an acting troupe.

Incorporating him into the setting, we decided that his sister is the Queen of Aundair, and that he had fled into the Eldeen Reaches where he joined the acting troupe and due to his charisma had worked his way up to basically being their "second in command".

He knows that the "Cult" basically worships something called The Watcher, and is known as Cult of the Eye. They're all psionically powered somehow (feats, classes, templates, etc). Warforged "touched by the Eye" will be the "foot soldiers" for the cult, and will mostly be psiwarriors with deep crystal weapons and armor. (There will be other warforged/automatons in the world, but they will be mindless aside from a few unique individuals. There will have been attempts at embuing them with sentience over the years, but the consensus will be that this always incurs a cost (i.e. they're possessed, insane, requires a soul/mind, etc, and is generally not worth it/too dangerous and taboo)). Psionics will otherwise be rare, but I’m using full transparency.

Although he doesn't know this yet, I have decided that the "Cult of the Eye" actually worships the Dreaming Dark, and they're a branch of the Riedrans, who are planning to invade and conquer Khorvaire. Kalashtar are basically individuals who partially resisted being possessed by a Quori. The Quori is trapped inside their minds, but the person remains in control, not the Quori. Although kalashtar don't normally dream, they can enter a shared dream using my Lucid Dreaming system (and a dream spindle). If they do so... they wind up being confronted by and/or battling the Quori trapped in their mind (similiar to Mal in Inception).

The first few sessions consisted of him trying to lead his acting troupe back to Audair from the Reaches, and being attacked repeatedly by psionicists of some kind and/or outsiders that they'd sent after him (a half-demon psion, yeth hound, ranger/seer, warforged psiwarrior, xill, and shadow mastiff to name a few).

My daughter is playing a changeling Mind Pirate (my own homebrew, in the Mindscapes forum), who is the Spymaster for Audair. We came up with what I think is an awesome backstory for her, which I'll add later. Her best friend IRL is playing Queen Ayala, whenever she has time to join us. I'll add more later. Game is going quite well, and we've entered a new phase were I'm going to basically run them through the Red Hand of Doom, but with the "Red Hand" being the reformation of Dargunn into the New Dhakanni Empire, and allying themselves with Droam and the DoSQ and preparing to take over Khorvaire, with some help from young dragons from the Chamber who believe that this is what is necessary and called for by the Draconic Prophesy in order to unite the forces of Khorvaire against a future invasion from a massive outside army (i.e.... Rierdra).

Link to the forum with the Lucid Dreaming system and Mind Pirate:

For the part where they encounter a hydra... I'm thinking of giving it more heads, making it cryo, and/or infesting it with a hellwasp swarm. :D

My daughter's character is a changeling Mind Pirate, the Spymaster of the Eyes of Aundair, and personal friend and confidant of Queen Ayala. We came up with the following backstory for her: she gained her powers in a Karnathi experimental research program during which she was repeatedly "dunked" into waters from the River Styx in hopes that she would absorb some of it's powers. In her case, this worked (although it reportedly failed on numerous other, prior, "test subjects"). However, it had the devastating side effect of causing her permanent amnesia of her entire past life. She no longer knows who she was prior to this treatment. She only remembers being "used" as a torturer and memory extractor by the Karnathi government, where she was simply called "The Spyder". One of her victims happened to be none other than... (then) Princess (now Queen) Ayala, after she was kidnapped by her brother. (my son's PC) He had intended for his sister (in character,not his RL sister... who is playing "The Spyder") to be sent to the Eldeen Reaches and held there in a safe location until he was safely crowned King. However... the thugs he'd paid to do this had other, more lucrative plans. This occurred during the end of the Last War, and they instead sold her to Karnath as a political prisoner.

The Spyder became intrigued by Ayala as she stole her memories and learned more and more about her. Unlike her previous victims, Ayala did not feel loathing or hatred for her. Instead... she felt pity, as she understood that The Spyder was as much a prisoner as she was. She also admired Alyala's bravery and determination. Despite weeks of being held and having her memories drained, her resolve to escape and confidence in her ability to do so never waivered. Eventually the two began communicating through Ayala passing thoughts to the Spyder via her stolen memories, and the Spyder answering with simple gestures and expressions. Together, they hatched a plan. The Spyder's hands were shackled to her neck via a mechanism that prevented her from reaching the latch herself... but which anyone else could easily open. Evidently her captor's never considered that another prisoner might think to free such a horrifying creature who had been their torturer. So when the guard overseeing one of their "sessions" was distracted, The Spyder leaned down and Ayala unlatched her... and she quickly made short work of their mutual guard. Then they ultimately escaped Karnath, and made their way back to Aundair, where Ayala's brother was captured, imprisoned, and then ultimately exiled, and Ayala herself was eventually crowned Queen, and the Spyder became her spymaster.

So we officially started the RHoD. I swapped the order of the first two sections, because they were specifically being teleported in with the goal of trying to stop or delay a brewing war between Dargunn and Zilargo. I placed the Elsie Vale at the southern border between those two countries, which works ok if you flip the RHoD map both vertically and horizontally and say Korrenberg is Brindol. I had them teleported just outside Drellin’s Ferry, and they spoke to Norrin and then quickly crossed the river to try and find the hobgoblin stronghold. Then I had the first encounter, which they spotted from a great distance away due to some great luck on a spot roll (and bad luck for the hiding hobgoblin scouts, despite my optimizing them a bit). We’re about halfway through the encounter which they seem to be enjoying.

I’ve reworked the hobgoblin regulars to be “scouts”, which have one level of rogue and one level of my home brewed fighter.
Due to the pcs spotting them from 150’ away, and having 2/3 (pc psion and his artificer thrall) with good long range “blasting “ capabilities, they’ve mostly made quick work of the first six scouts despite me maximizing all the enemies hit points.

I replaced the second wave with another pair of hell hounds and four goblin riders (one on each hell hound, same classes as scouts but with Mounted Combat). They haven’t done much better due to being crowded on the road during their approach, and hit with a glitter dust. Then pelted/crushed/bombed...

The cleric and blade bearer have used invisibility (domain spell and scroll) to sneak up to the PCs and are just about to attack. The cleric healed a couple of the regulars on his way up and is now going to summon a giant (fiendish instead of celestial) bee.

The blade bearer I’ve rewritten to have a couple of levels of my fighter with the Foil Action ability... which he is close enough to use, which should be a thorn in their sides... at least for the couple of rounds he lives... lol.

I will try and have at least one “escape”, and if successful the encounter at Vraath keep will be started as if the PCs had already tried to take it and been driven away once or twice (so more troops, on “high alert”, etc).

So... had an eventful day in D&D land.  :lmao My daughter went biking with my wife and some family friends and my son and I stayed home and played D&D for much of the day (after we'd mowed the yard, etc). I NPC'd my daughter's character through the last of the "marauder ambush" (she'd complained of being bored anyway), and they managed to capture and charm the hobgoblin cleric in that group. He'd tried to sneak away while invisible, but was wearing heavy armor and they heard, glitterdusted, and then charmed him... and he spilled his guts about everything he knew. They high tailed it back to Drellin's Ferry and managed to convince the council to evacuate the town. Then they headed back into the Witchwood to look for Jorr and ask him to guide them to Vraath keep to get more info (the cleric hadn't known that much...).

In the marauder fight, the Foil Action ability of my homebrewed fighter (which I blatantly stole from the Frank and K fighter, but put more limitations on) at least proved capable of enraging a spellcaster/psion... lol. The Bladebearer used it to foil one manifesting of Telekinesis (my son's character is a Psion/Master of the Unseen Hand (homebrewed to be full casting). That on top of the poor rolls he'd had attacking the Bladebearer with telekinetically flung projectiles left him feeling very, very angry at the Blade master (who actually lasted for several rounds because of this bad luck streak and Foil Action). Of course... said Bladebearer  died horribly not long after, under a barrage of Fireballs and flung projectiles.

Upon leaving Drellin's Ferry, in order to speed travel times they decided to do something... questionable and risky. My son has a pair of Boots of Levitation and Hand of the Mage, and I've been allowing him to "fly" by pushing himself along with a Mage Hand. It's only at a speed of 20, but it does avoid many dangers that you might otherwise encounter in the woods. My daughter's character has an "inverted tower" inside an Enveloping Pit. So he decided to put everyone else in there, and he'd fly them all to Jorr's. I even gave him the old "DM warning" of "Well... while this does avoid some dangers, it might actually incur others..." pointing out that he'd be more visible and might attract "flying creatures". He ignored my warning, at his peril...

As he got into the forest, I decided to have the manticore be out patrolling/hunting. Since they all have those bedrolls that let you get a full night's rest in 2 hours, he'd even decided to head out while it was still dark (he also reasoned that at least this might make him harder to see for patrols and other creatures). So... of course, having low-light and darkvision, the manticore saw him first... and managed to hit with all six quills... including a crit with one. This took his unbuffed, pajama-wearing psion butt from full health down into the negatives in the surprise round... He freaked out for a bit, saying he was going to "quit playing D&D" (he had had a pretty bad string of luck rolling dice in the earlier marauder fight), but eventually I coaxed him to come back to the game...

So he awoke chained to a wall, with a gag in his mouth, a bag over his head, and naked except for his loincloth... which... given that he's a psion... didn't do much to limit his power. His psicrystal had managed to hide itself among his equipment, and so was also in the same room... but so were Wyrmlord Koth and the minotaur (whom I gave a level of barbarian, and the Diehhard and Mad Foam Rager feats). He spent a few rounds buffing himself, and managed to make the concentration checks to suppress his displays, and so they had no idea he was awake before it was too late... He put up Schism, Vigor (shared with his psicrystal), Share Pain, and Touchsight. Then he managed to Charm the minotaur and convince it that Koth was the one who was actually charmed and needed to be "knocked out" so that they could "cure him"... A few rounds later of bashing and Telekinesis, and Koth was pretty beaten up but still alive. Then things got interesting... My son (who is a Telepath) managed to bluff Koth into believing that he works for a "secret order of spies for Tiamat", and that he'd actually came there to chastise Wyrmlord Koth because of the patrol that was killed earlier today (which... of course he actually killed, lol). He roleplayed this well, and rolled well on his Bluff (and has a +11), and Koth's sense motive roll was crap (and he has a +0...). So... after a bit more banter, he managed to get Koth to give him an "update" on how things are going... which included showing him the map in the war room, and eventually the details about what the other Wyrmlords are up to. So overall, he managed to go from "getting one-shotted by a patrolling manticore" into "convinced the Wyrmlord that he actually outranks him and took over the whole keep with a bluff check".  :lol

I hinted that this bluff, while it had been incredibly effective in the short term, probably wouldn't hold up for more than a day or two if he leaves. So he's deciding how to "properly" take over the keep... but given that he's already neutralized two of the biggest three threats there, they should have no problems with that. They now know that Ulwai is trying to "recruit" the Ghostlord, and Savriith is making dragonspawn in the swamp (I changed the mechanism of this, saying that he's using a ritual involving dragon blood, "demonic essence" and lizardmen to create them... not corrupted dragon eggs... which is just stupid). I also hinted at possible allies he could try recruiting, including the elves, some lycanthropes (I'm replacing the forest giants with these, given that the setting is Eberron, and not Xendrik), and "other forest creatures". So we'll see where he decides to head next. He also knows where the main army is mustering, and that the High Wyrmlord is trying some ritual to weaken the bonds holding Tiamat in the Pit of Five Sorrows, but that this almost certainly won't be enough in and of itself to free her, but would just be a "first step" in doing so (I'm saying that there is a giant "pentacle" that has five temples at its corners that holds her imprisoned, and that you'd need to destroy all five to free her... and Koth has access to one of them. I'm also going to use the Draconic Prophesy to explain away why a horde of dragons hasn't already descended on Khorvaire and burned it to the ground... but that hasn't been revealed in the game yet).


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