View Full Version : Stick to Guns, or Reward Guessing? [Ebb]

2011-04-19, 05:23 PM
In the Eberron campaing I'm co-DMing, the party has just entered, at the instigation of a minor noble of House Cannith, an experimental vault where an Artificer of theirs was working on a project. The adventure is based on the 5-Room Dungeon "The Living Vault", from Roleplayingtips.com.

No details were provided, but the Artificer in question was analyzing a Schema that the party had previously recovered for House Cannith (see the adventure in the back of the Setting Guide [3.5] for details).

My original idea was to have him working on golems disguised as warforged, to be used for infiltration (along the lines of Terminators, since Cannith seems to be Skynet for all intents and purposes). But upon seeing some of the 'experiments' in one portion of the facility, one of the players guessed that he was working on cyborgs. The experiments were trophies, actually, severed heads of a previous party that had stumbled onto the facility and were eliminated by the defenses, only to be 'scavenged' for parts (so yes, integrating organics and constructs were a part of the theme, but the main overarching scheme was indetectable constructs) and now I'm thinking that I like the cyborg idea better. Sure, the guess was OOC, but all the players think it, and the warforged druid of the party is starting to have some IC suspicions about the abominations he's encountering.

The plan (roughly) is that the next room is the primary defense hub, where the last group of intruders fell. One of them is still there, in the middle of the room. There's a clearing around him, and outside of that clearing, parts, small constructs and pieces of constructs, and whatever the defenses didn't salvage from the rest of the party lie scattered. The 'survivor' is actually just a shell animated by a colony of minor constructs, and will attack the party if disturbed. If he isn't disturbed, he will attack when the defenses are triggered, which is whenever the PC's attempt to interact with the animated lock sealing the door out of the chamber. During this combat sequence, the room itself will use abilities salvaged from the dead party (only weapons and arcane abilities. I decided that the research hadn't yet allowed access to divine or psionic abilities of the host body, due to the power source of the animation being arcane).

The last room is the research hub itself, where the Artificer has become part of the facility itself, almost GlaDOS style. Here the power source is housed, and here they will find (and hopefully recognize) the Schema they previously retrieved.

Not sure exactly how to handle the Artificer, or if I should stick to the construct/warforged idea, or just go with the 'House Cannith may or may not be officially or unofficially researching bio-arcane cyborgs.' If I go that route, any contacts they have in Cannith will insist that the artificer just went crazy with his experiments, and was in no way undergoing official Cannith research. I had also planned to have a 'hit squad' of modified Warforged Scouts with (artificed) Merciful Armbows ambush the party as they exit the facility in an attempt to retrieve the Schema. I haven't decided if they would be working for the LoB, House Cannith, or some other Warforged faction, but the idea is they don't want the Schema falling into anyone else's hands.

Comments or suggestions?

2011-04-19, 05:44 PM
Maybe the schema isnt entirely about how to build them, but about how to keep them in check? Maybe these bio-arcane warforged need a power limitation to not go nova, and thats in the schema, and the LoB would be real pissed if his new trump card could be beaten by the schema dampeners?

This (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/687) is the first thing that came to mind reading your idea.

2011-04-21, 04:24 PM
It wouldn't be the LoB's trump card, since he's all about the machines.

I'm thinking the hit squad could be LoB's, but he's trying to keep the schema away from those who might want to use it. So sure, he's a genocidal maniac, but the players just might want to side with him on this one. Or at least stay out of his way.

2011-04-22, 12:10 PM
Perhaps combine them? Maybe the artificer was trying to disguise golems as warforged, but found them too limited to fake being a sentient creature like that without some tinkering and organic additions (re: brain sections).

What level is the party? The artificer could be a Renegade Mastermaker/Half-Golem. Or perhaps he's not the final boss after all. Maybe just a shell, and a warforged is the bodyguard. It'd be interesting to throw them against a "warforged" that proved immune to most everything thrown at it, like magic/crits/sneak attacks.

And for the ambush party, LOBsters wouldn't have Merciful on their weapons unless they specifically wanted to talk to the fleshies, not just go after the schema, I'd think. But a group following a Reforged prophet? That'd be interesting. Otherwise, the ambushers might be just working for one of the other major Cannith sections (the guy based in Karrnath, perhaps, for similar applications with undead?)

2011-04-24, 12:01 PM
I think having the hit squad be Reforged agents is a good way to go.

Party is level 3, so I won't throw the book at them. I think having the boss be a prototype of the Unforged Terminators, but I need some way for him to break action economy to be any sort of credible threat, or some sort of area effect. Iron Golem's poison breath might work. It looks like a party of five will be taking on whatever I assemble.

With the prototype Unforged being the boss, I plan on presenting it as a Warforged, having them fight it out for a bit, then when it takes some heavy damage having a portion of the composite plating come apart, revealing golem innards. If they do a full workup afterwards, they might notice some biological components as well.

They already encountered the heads of the previous party, and they clearly still had brains, albeit damaged. The puppet body can be brainless, though, and will react as such. So it'll be some sort of brute fighter type that gets turned into a shell for a construct colony, and then they can fight the Unforged with his brain.