Friday, October 7, 2011

The First Session or Why I Love my PCs

So, I think I had a pretty solid outline for the first adventure of Prince Oargev and his faithful companions, almost a year before I even knew who the Prince and his companions would be.  I even broke-down a rough estimate of what we would likely get done session-by-session. As if.

My theory on Eberron adventures:  If at least 3-4 organizations, factions, or nations are not at work in an Eberron adventure, it is a failure.  I like complex plots, misdirection, and politics in Eberron.  That's what I was going for.

A Brief summary of Prince Oargev and the Ashbound Conspiracy
     On Prince Oargev's 18th birthday he, his cousin Istav, recently returned from graduating Arcanix, and his best friend Marten are brought before the Queen's Council and given a mission.  They are to go to a secret House Vadalis installation called Clifftop and see what House Vadalis has been working on and is offering to Cyre's war effort.  To cove rtheir trip there, they will be visiting three different Cyran lord's estates and staying with them.  The forebears of each of these houses offered resistance to Queen Dannel early in her rule, and she would like for her son to have a little less problem with the local nobility when he inevitable takes the throne.  After the meeting, Marten is taken aside by his father and told that he suspects that House Vadalis is working on something at Clifftop that they are keeping a secret even from Cyre.  He wants to know what it is.
     The Prince, Istav, Marten, and the Prince's Own Warforged Unit, led by a warforged called Blade, set off on their trip.  They meet with each of the lords in turn, arranging a marriage between one lord and the widow of another and setting the groundwork for revolutionizing the eastern border defenses.  Marten goes on a side-quest (more later.)  They find out that Karrnathi Raiders have been crossing the river and raiding the villages, and even kill some.  When searching the bodies, they determine that the skeletons fighting with the Karrnathi soldiers are actually animate constructs made of boneash wood, found only in Thelanis or the Eldeen Reaches.  The Karrnathi uniforms are of a very old style.  These raiders are not what they seem to be...
     The Prince and crew send the warforged off to mask their true destination and they head to the Clifftop installation.  When they get there, they find some of the raiders attacking the secret entrance, as if they were looking for the entrance.  They manage to drive off the raiders and head down into Clifftop.  Inside they find a number of interesting Magebred Dinosaurs and Lizards intended for war.  They also realize that the head of the installation's daughter, Donata, is actually a magebred human and that is the secret of Clifftop.  Just as Donata's father is begging the PCs not to reveal his daughter's secret, as he doesn't want her taken from him or killed, the entrance to the installation explodes, caves in, and terrorists, claiming to be of the Ashbound Druidic sect attack the installation.  It seems that, somehow, the terrorists are both outside and inside the installation.  The party fights their way to a possible exit through the water system, but finds that the water tank in the underground farm that feeds the installation (getting sun and water through a permanent 1-way portal to Thelanis) is guarded with the leaders of the Ashbound.  They came in by making the portal 2-way.  They fight and subdue the PCs, accidentally killing Prince Oargev.  Some of the workers and Donata's father make it out of the water pipes before the Ashbound Heirophant reverses the portal, sucking all of them back into Thelanis, the Feywild.  The Prince, his friends, and Donata are sucked in.
     Having destroyed the House Vadalis installation and taken the Prince of Cyre prisoner, the druids consider what to ransom the prince back to his mother for: forcing Cyre to kick the Dragonmarked houses out of their borders? Dismantling the Warforged?  They raise the Prince from the dead while the other in his party try and plan an escape.  After the Prince is raised, the druids decide to move the prisoners to their stronghold in the Eldeen reaches, taking a shortcut through the Feywild.  Along the way, a squadron from Breland's Citadel attack, inadvertently freeing the Prince.  A small group tries to take the Prince captive, but are convinced to let him go.
     The party travels through the Feywild, braving many danger, following a map they took off of a druid, and find their way through a series of underground caves through a portal that leads into Khyber and an underground city crawling with twisted abberations.  They make their way to a portal there which spits them out on a hillside in Karrnath, across the river from Cyre.  There they find the Karrnathi Army formed up, ready to cross the river and invade Cyre.  They fight off one of the advance scouts and this time, they are real Karrnathi.  They steal a copy of their orders, make their way across the river, deliver the orders to the closest lord, who manages to get the army organized in time to stop a full-scale invasion.  The party returns victorious.

My plans called for session 1 to involve the PCs getting their mission and completing the skill challenge that lets them befriend the 3 noble houses between Metrol and Clifftop, including 1 combat with the not-Karrnathi raiders.  Yeah right.  My PCs are awesome.  Session one barely got out of Metrol.  The witty banter of Istav with Marten and Oargev, Marten revealing he's actually a changeling (and Istav's envy at that revelation), the PCs realizing that the Prince's Guard Captain was he who would become the Lord of Blades when Oargev asks what the Ghulra-mark on Blade's forehead looks like and I check the cover of my campaign guide and lament that you can't see it in the picture.  The characters really came to life that first session, and we didn't get to Clifftop until 3 or 4 sessions in to the game.  And that was okay.  I like having PCs that are entertained, even without more than 1 or 2 combats in 4 sessions.

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