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 Post subject: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:59 pm 
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So I've decided to give gaming another go after years away and while 4e is fun, I yearn for the blood, the steel and the passion of TRoS. In terms of setting I never really jived with Wyerth and love... LOVE R.E.Howard's world. In particular I really love his stories that cross into Cthulhian Mythos territory (My other favourite author).

My first game back into TRoS is going to be for two players who are familiar to TRoS if only in passing from four-five years ago and two players who have only ever played WoW and 4e. The two players who have played TRoS are amped for it (they're fans of Howard and Lovecraft as well) while one of the other guys is a bit hesitant (he's spent a lot of money on D&D was his excuse). Anyway I figure I'll run a bit of an intro adventure using the Classic Caravan adventure with a Hyborian-Cthulhian bend. Instead of the usual caravan guards I was hoping to run it with the characters as slaves who have to break out, survive an attack in the desert by unknown assailants or creatures in the night and make it to an oasis/town only to get stuck overnight in a sandstorm inside a ancient burial chamber/dungeon.

Looking at the characters in the Companion I figure that they're a decent match for the types of characters I'd like in the game. I figure a big Cimmerian Fiodhmhar, Artero a Zingaran Thief type, female Brythunian archer Natara and a Bossonian knight caled Valar.

Spiritual Attributes would be important of course with the initially obvious one being "Drive: Escape the slavers" set pretty highly for all of them. Some I'll keep from the Companion.. if anyone wants to come up with some more feel free to reply.

Fiochmhar
Drive: "Escape the Slavers"
Faith: Crom
Passion: friendship Artero
Destiny: "..."
Passion: Artero's wife

Artero
Drive: "Escape the Slavers"
Passion: his wife
Destiny: "..."
Passion: friendship Fiochmhar
Drive: "

Natara
Drive: "Escape the Slavers"
Destiny: "..."
Passion: "Her family - husband, children"
Oath:
Conscience:

Valar
Drive: "Escape the Slavers"
Oath: "to protect King Conan and the Aquilonian Kingdom"
Conscience:
Destiny: "..."
Faith: Mitra


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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:32 pm 
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Totally loving this:
Monkeyking wrote:
Passion: friendship Artero
Passion: Artero's wife

That guy obviously knows how to set up some good SAs. :) I see a timeless classic of a tale coming up...

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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:01 pm 
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Monkeyking wrote:
Passion: friendship Artero
Passion: Artero's wife


The classic conflicting SAs. An example for all those new to TRoS.

I look forward to seeing a thread in the Actual Play forum telling us how the scenario goes!

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:44 am 
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thanks for the kind words all.

I figure the SAs will work themselves out in the couple of weeks before the session so I'll leave them for now. I wanted a Destiny for each and to mirror the cultural differences I left two of the characters without Conscience in line with how I view Howard's representation of barbaric/mercenary culture. Of course SAs may change as characters do over time so nothing is set in stone.

For the setup I wanted the scenario to go through four distinct scenes.

Scene One: The characters awake from a purple lotus haze having been drugged by their captors, 8 Shemitish slavers transporting them to Stygia from the north. The 20 slaves were captured at various points across the north and were split up from their various cultural groups and regrouped into groups with less in common. Ostensibly this was to meet market requirements but it also stops groups of slaves from becoming rowdy and plotting rebellion, a difficult task if you can't speak the language of the other slaves. Artero and Fiodhmhar were kept due to a mistake in thinking they were unknown to each other. Each is shackled at the wrist by iron manacles with a chain linking them to another slave opposite them in the slave wagon. An iron bar runs through the centre of the floor of the wagon. The chains run under this bar. This prevents free movement within the cage. Until they reached the Shem desert they'd been drugged and the wagons covered to prevent the more "civilised" eyes of northern people getting too curious. Each night they are taken out of the wagons and the chains staked into the ground in groups of four away from the slaver camp where they eat and drink. The adventure starts as they are a couple of days into the desert.

Goals: Scene one is really there for them to RP their introductions and to begin plotting their escape. Its also a chance to ramp up the horror a bit and have the wagon train attacked at night and also for some moral dilemmas with the Brythunian woman being a target for Shem slaver curiosity/desire. The first night will be relaxed with a slaver showing interest in Natara but not acting on it. By the morning there'll be some commotion as four of the slaves are missing, blood left at the sandy scene but no tracks.

Scene Two:
The second evening is when things start to happen. Firstly the atmosphere is quiet though tense (for the slaves). Whispers through the other groups that dissappeared talk of demons that came in the night and took them. The slaves are given food, a rancid slop and later after the Shem have had their fill of food and desert wine a guard comes over to harrass Natara. This could go any number of ways. I don't imagine anyone would sit by and have their character abused in the unspeakable way intended and I don't see how Valar would sit by either. The challenge is that the Shem guard has a curved Shem sabre, possibly some small amount of armour and a Jambiya. Having said that, he's by himself and while Natara is a woman she's no pushover. WIth the help of Valar she could very well take him down. It would involve Valar's Conscience SA and both of their Drive SA's. While the two other PCs don't have Conscience they could see it as an opportunity to escape and therefore get involved.
Its during this second night that I'd like to spring the horror onto the characters. The creature that took the slaves the previous evening is some kind of desert demon that lurks beneath the sands and takes its victim below the sand. I don't think its humanoid, maybe something more like a graboid for those who know what one is. A kind of sandworm that has a tentacled second mouth that can scout and bite, injecting/infecting its victim with a paralysis poison before the main maw erupts from beneath the sands to take its victims below. I'm not too sure how to stat this thing up. Any ideas?

Goal: ultimately the escape. But also to give the players the idea that their SAs drive their behaviour and performance. This scene hopefully ends with the characters fleeing on horseback an encampment being set upon by the desert demons.

Scene Three: the escape over the dunes. We'll cut to the next day. I don't expect they'll flee with any particular plan in mind so I'll "starwipe" to next morning. Lay on the environment as oppressive heat, vultures, dead creatures and maybe nothing in sight. Things look bleak but they remember they were heading to a river port to the ?(XXX direction). They may choose to go in that direction or not... If things get ultra bleak, I'll have them run across either a) a caravan of (legit) traders. or b) have the desert demons attack near a rocky outcropping. They may look to engage with them, remembering that they still have their irons on and most likely very little in the way of weapons or money. Shem are notoriously duplicitous so there's no way of knowing what may happen and its a good chance to get some RP going. THey can still use "Drive: Escape from the Slavers" at this point I feel as it's not clear whether the slavers are after them or not. Any thoughts on how to make this work?

Scene Four: more fleeing and coming under attack by something else... fleeing into a set of stone ruins near a rocky outcropping and finding a small dungeon ala: Conan the Movie. A chance to seek shelter, maybe there's a spring with water and a chance at some grave-robbing. Monsters?

Scene Five: Making it to the Port City of ????? and possibly the end of the session.

Any thoughts, comments?


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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:40 am 
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I’m quite liking what you’re doing here! :)

Monkeyking wrote:
I'm not too sure how to stat this thing up. Any ideas?

So the sand demon lies under the sand and just pokes up several tentacles with eyes and mouths, to seek for victims and drag them down to him? If so, I wouldn’t bother with the main body at all and instead treat each tentacle as an independent individual. Maybe a tentacle needs to make a successful bite attack first to latch on, and then, with jaws still clamped into the victim, makes a grapple and draws the victim under? The Takedown maneuver from OBaM might also be handy for a tentacle sweeping out feet from underneath the victims…

Monkeyking wrote:
Any thoughts on how to make this work?

From the top of my head, just lame ones:

Maybe a small pursuit party of slave raiders appears on the horizon? Small, but just too big and well equipped to fight? Give the characters the opportunity to hide – and watch from hiding as water and food ride away…

Or maybe they come upon a man whom the Zuagir have staked out in the desert to die? Leaving him will mean his certain death within hours, but taking him along will slow them down, and cost them quite a bit of whatever water they might have…

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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:54 am 
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Not very obvious reference, but the chances of getting lost in the desert totally reminded me The Country of the Saints section from A Study in Scarlet. What!? The story is written by Arthur Conan Doyle after all. :lol:

Oh, I can see it already... Mormons meet Tremors in Hyborean deserts. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:43 am 
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I was considering the third night and how I could ramp up the drama/suspense/action. They are forced to make shelter in some ruins by an approaching sandstorm. The scattered ruins combined with darkness and the sand storm make for low visibility, startling sounds and echoes filtering in through the storm. When they come across their horses mutilated they'll be faced with a choice - do they investigate whats going on, or look for a place to hide? Investigating will most likely lead to violence which will lead to death either theirs or whatever it is thats stalking them. If they choose to take refuge down the cave they've found I figure it could lead to some dungeon delving goodness that could end with them having some weapons and armour.

I was thinking of the Premise of the game (for those familiar with Forge parlance) and felt that the obvious themes of sex, violence, civilisation vs barbarism, corruption etc (staples of Howardian fiction) would provide good fuel for the Premise though a little obvious. "What Price for Freedom" has been done before by many groups. "Can Violence Answer Your Questions", "How much Blood Will You Spill for Goals", "What Legacy of Violence can You Live With". I'll try and come up with some more but feel free to add your own or comment on the ones I've put up here.

HIGGINS: I love it! I was hoping to capture the feel of the scene from Poltergeist where Reverend Henry Kane locks his followers into the cave (that would later be below the Freeling's house). Perhaps this is good fruit.. hrmm.. A doomsday cult was lead below the ruins long ago and their spirits haunt the ruins above with blood feeding their souls. When the characters flee beneath the ruins they're actually moving closer to the source of the spirits. As they move into the cavern the entrance is filled in with the sand from the storm above.


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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Monkeyking wrote:
A doomsday cult was lead below the ruins long ago and their spirits haunt the ruins above with blood feeding their souls.
Of course they don't worship spirits when we have a species of tentacled miniature shai-hulud roaming around in the desert! Think about meeting such a beast in an underground cave with rabid cultists! :twisted:

Plus I'd give them many, many thin tendrils... more like spaghetti instead of octopus tentacles and would then use (low ATN) net-throwing rules to ensnare the characters. It would make the initial contact less lethal while still being dangerous enough... and the severed spaghetti will keep trying to cling to the characters (CP penalty, but they will wither and die soon (quarter of an hour?) unless they can re-enter the mouth of the beast). Or maybe not, so they can be collected to a bottle or such. A lovecraftian cocktail! Ouch. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:48 pm 
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ooh i like where you're going with this. Rabid Worm worshipping cultists, underground caverns.. hrmmm I'll have to do some fiddling and see what I can come up with.


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 Post subject: Re: New Campaign: Dark Hyborian Adventures
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:51 pm 
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So, this place is a perfect shelter made of sandstone, and there are large caverns fit for humans in it... but around those, there is a huge number of small tunnels for worms... like the tracks of a bark beetle under the bark or think of an anthill structure... perhaps a human could crawl in one of the small ones, but he'd be quite helpless there. This makes it more plausible that the caverns wouldn't collapse because of the worms, as they don't really dig through the walls in that place...

And those connections aren't obvious from the main tunnels as the cultists fix and fill them with sand as they get busted by the worms. Hey, who would enter that damn lair if it could be seen as too creepy from afar? :mrgreen:

P.S.
Don't forget the huge loot of four hand-carts and a dozen shovels. Filling those holes is hard work! :lol:

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- Lord Petyr Baelish, A Game of Thrones


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