Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Journey to Newtown: Events

Events vs. Encounters
I know that events sometimes get knocked for being "railroady" or whatever. I disagree - mostly because I believe that you need a little story in your sandbox - or a lot of sandbox in your story - or...well, whatever. I play how I enjoy playing.

All that being said, Events are things that the DM places before the party regardless of where they are. Some - like changes in the weather - really don't matter all that much (wouldn't be that much different from rolling it randomly, really) but some are just encounters I want to make sure the PCs have - NPCs I want to make sure they meet (even if they turn down the offer of the NPC) or some other encounter I want to make sure is something more than just random (the Dragonmen below). 

Below are 7 events - three of them could just be background stuff - the wind, the clouds, the army marching - the other four can be put into the Random Encounter list if the DM so chooses - for me, they're encounters I want to place when I think the time is right - which players in my campaigns have been fine with (knowing that's something I do). Three of them are "story" introductions (the staff, the disks, the dragonmen), three are kind of atmospheric events (two literally so) and the raven encounter is for color - and a possible clue for the PCs if they are patient...

Journey to Newtown

Event 1: Search for the Staff
The underbrush rustles and a dozen or so dark figures push out onto the path before you. Green and black goblin faces glare at you. A grossly fat figure on a far-to-small pony rides behind the humanoids.

The rider looks at you and yells: “For the queen, get the staff!” and rides off as the goblins close in on the party…

Fewmaster Tenede (Goblin Lord). AL LE; MV 12.; hp 16; HD 3; #AT 1; Dmg 1- 6; can leap up to 30.

13 Goblins AL LE; MV 9.; hp 2, 3x3, 5, 3x6, 7,9; AC 5; HD 1+1; #AT 1; Dmg 1-8

Tenede has no interest in engaging the party. He expects his troops to overwhelm the party – but he also won’t take any chances. He gallops off to the Dragon raider camp.

The Goblins fight fiercely until they lose 5 or more members after which they check morale at a -2 penalty. Any Goblins captured only know that the Fewmaster is searching for a staff with a blue gem head.

(NOTE - I've always loved the title "Fewmaster" - I'll be using it more...)

Event 2: Meeting the Seer of Tirathan
Ahead the party hears chanting in a strange language (an archaic version of the language of the Holy Empire of the West). If anyone can translate they hear:

“The Light of Heaven shines in the darkness
And the darkness flees
And the darkness cannot rise.
The Light of Heaven reveals the truth
To all who will listen
To all who will hear
Come, Lightbringer, Come Lightbearer,
Come and shine upon the world
That all might see
And all believe.”

The chanter is a Grey Monk named Cadifar, who is accompanied by a stoic and watchful Paladin of the Rose Temple named Gadron. Cadifar is called the Seer of Tirathan. Cadifar has had a vision of darkness spreading all across the land and has been praying and questing for He Who Is All Radiance to reveal a way to stop the spread of darkness and evil. Cadifar, bearing a staff with a blue crystal head, feels led to find the Disks of the Prophetess. He has no idea where they might be, though his prayers and meditations have led him to this region (the last temple where the Prophetess was an oracle was a place called Zatarath, but the city seems to have disappeared from the world – Cadifar seeks the ruins).

Cadifar will gladly join the party, if they will aid him in his quest. Gadron will be reluctant to trust these strangers, but will eventually concede that there is strength in numbers. If Cadifar joins the party, but they are unwilling (or unable) to help him in his quest, he will not hesitate to leave them and search for the Discs of the Prophetess himself.

Event 3: Cold North Winds
One morning, chosen at random, the north wind turns very cold. Rangers, druids and anyone with a special sense of the weather will note that storms are coming soon.

Event 4: Thurnderclouds
The two days after the wind turns cold, black and roiling thunderclouds roll in from the west, covering the whole land.

Event 5: The Dragonmen
About 300 feet ahead, dark forms crowd the road or path or clearing.  They wear heavy cloaks which hide their faces and forms. One of the figures points in the direction of the PCs and the troop of hooded figures moves quickly toward the party.

These are 8 Dragonmen who are unaware of the party (unless the party has made themselves obvious), but are moving in their direction nevertheless. They will fight the PCs to the death if engaged.

1 Champion Ba’al Dragonman

10 Ba’al Dragonmen

Event 6: Raven
The party encounters a raven who eyes them warily for just a moment and then begins cawing loudly, watching the party intently. If the party does not shoo away the raven, there is a 50% chance per PC that the cawing will begin to sound like words. Someone will hear “seek” then someone else “dark one” then the word “bright” and finally the word “cave.” The raven will then fly off toward the Crystalline Cave

Event 7: The Invasion of the Dragonarmies
This event begins when Newtown is attacked and continues throughout the campaign. The dragonarmies are centered on the Dragoncamp (see area). Every hour, an adjoining hex is occupied by the dragonarmy. If the hex is an encounter area which might resist the occupation, roll d12, re-rolling and adding to any 12s rolled – thus, if a twelve is rolled, roll again and add that number, if that is also a twelve, re-roll and add that number – if a 12 and 6 are rolled, the number is 18, if a 12 then a 12 then a 4 is rolled, the number is 28. The number rolled is the number of hours it takes for the Dragonarmy to subdue the hex (assuming no counter action by the PCs). Cities and larger towns will roll 3d12 for their resistance time, with the same technique used (except Newtown, which is the focus of the initial invasion). Use logic in the direction of the dragonarmies, as well as which encounter areas might or might not resist.

Generally, the dragonarmy will be pushing toward Briarwood and the Great Elk Swamp, but will also kind of push the party (as general divination magic will reveal to the Dragonarmy leadership what general direction the Blue Crystal Staff is found, though not its exact location).

Any time the party is in an already captured/occupied area, they will see the Dragonarmy moving through the area and witness firsthand the depredations of the Draconians, Goblins and Mercenaries employed by the Cult of the Dragon.

A few areas will not be invaded: Briarwood is extremely treacherous so the dragonarmy will choose to go around this region for the time being. In addition, the Heartwood is slowly being corrupted by an agent of the Cult of the Dragon, so the armies will not enter that region, either.

When the Dragonarmies reach the borders of the Petty Kingdoms of the Highlands, they will stop (for the time being), claiming victory.

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