View Full Version : Storytime with Skjaldbakka

2007-10-14, 05:06 AM
I don't think people share enough about the games they are running. More often you read rules debates and what-not. Many games tell a great story, and the story is known only to those who participated. I think, the more people a story is shared with, the better it is for the story. Here is the story of the game I ran this weekend.

The Cast: (I honestly don't remember everyone's name, as names don't actually come up very often, I'll give names that I remember).

(NG)Brock- Half-Gold Dragon Silver Dragon Shaman
(?G)Avaronna- Half-Celestial Ranger/Fighter
(CG)I~~~- Half Celestial Tiefling Swordsage
(CN)Y~~~- Tibbit Swordsage
(LN)Morgath- Human Cleric of Wee Jas
(?)The Absent One- Elf Wizard (has only made it to one game so far) [absent]
(?)?- Human Fighter (Fullplate/Fachion) [absent]

Everyone began the session somewhere between 6th and 9th level, there being some variance due to LA buyoff being allowed in the game. Tibbit are a race of shapechangers that have a cat form, which he stays in most of the time.

The party is an evil empire, and are forming a rebellion. So far they have acquired a base of operations, 1 fortress, and enough supplies for an army of 50-100 people. They have also acquired the good will of the fey (well, the good ones).

The Center Cannot Hold Players should probably stop reading now. Except for the Saturday night game.

The session begins with the party deciding to travel to the site of an ancient Merithian temple, where they hope to acquire some arcane lore. On the way out of the forest, the meet (and manage to spot), a fey druid that has been subtly assisting them now and again, named Ogham. Knowing that he had been spotted, he steps out and introduces himself, and lets the party know that while he is with them in spirit, it is against the law of the fey to directly interfere in human affairs, and the horses that lie at the end of the path have nothing to do with him, because he isn't allowed to interfere. He also lets them know that he sometimes loses things, and if he just happens to lose things that are useful in places where they might find them, that is purely chance, because he isn't interfering. *cough*

The party finds 4 horses, enough for everyone to ride, including the cleric of Wee-Jas, who ignores the sublte hint and continues to ride his skeletal horse. The two celestials fly high over the nearby village and scan the town for any sign of Imperial presence. They see none, but they also see an angry man yelling at what appears to be an innkeeper, and gesturing in the direction of an empty stable. They decided not to go into that town, and continue on their merry way with what supplies they already had.

After a few days of riding across the plains, the party comes across another town. As before, the two celestials fly over the town, and spy a man sitting on a chair in the middle of the road by the well in the center of town, with four children. He was wearing a very distinctive set of gold full plate. I~~~ is schooled enough in the nobility to recognize the armor of the dread emperor when he sees it, and returns to the group with this information. After a long heated discussion and two failed divinations attempts, the decide to send the tibbit in to scout further. The tibbit sees a man in golden armor, sitting on a chair fabricated from the remains of a human corpse, with four whimpering children chained to his armor, calmly sipping a glass of lemonade. The villagers are hiding in th buildings of the village.

By the time the party decides to move in and take a shot at killing the emperor, one of the villagers had fearfully approached the emperor, to ask what it was that he wanted. The party, being curious of that themselves, waited to find out what. "I have decided that I want to take one of your children. Tell your friends that they have one day to decide which of their children will join me and live a wretched and horrible life until they die and I use their bodies to join my army. And bring me another lemonade!" The emperor's maniacal laughter followed him back into the building, as did I~~~.

I~~~ tried to convince the villager to let him slip a dose of spider venom into the emperor's drink. The villager objected on the grounds that he would be killed and his body turned into a parasol. I~~~ eventually persuaded browbeat the villager into going along with this plan. The emperor drank the poisoned lemonade (and in fact failed his save), and then spewed it out.

"This is terrible lemonade! PW Kill!" The villagers head exploded from the uttering of a single terrible word. "Hmm, I have to say I like the idea of a parasol. Fabricate!" The emperor, having heard the entire conversation, then planted his new parasol to shade himself from the sun. The PCs then jumped him, many of them watching in horror as the pain of their blows was inflicted upon the children, who writhed and screamed in pain, and all but one died.

"You have killed my children. You fiends! Murderers of children, there blood is on your hands, as is the blood of the children that will now die because of you interference. I could kill you, but I can think of no worse suffering than the guilt you will feel for the children that will die today on your account. I would have only taken one child, ..." In an instant, he was gone, and a mob of zombie children in his place, the emperor relocated to the sidelines of the battle. With a fresh glass of lemonade, to boot. " . . . go my children, destroy this village," he commanded the undead horde. "Will you stop them, brave heroes? Know that for every one of them you destroy, I will kill a child from this village to replace it."

The party, unable to hold off the zombie children, first tried to press the attack on the emperor, only to find a barrier fo force surrounding him on all sides. They were left with no choice but to destroy the zombies and try to stop the emperor from killing the children of the village. When the last zombie fell, the emperor dismissed his forcecage, and dominated I~~~ into killing the children of the village and bringing their dead bodies to his feet. Three times he was able to resist the emperor by twisting the wording of his commands. Ultimately he gave in, and the emperor used his spells to inhibit the remainder of the party from interfering. In the end, Avaronna was able to evacuate half the village, while Brock was eventually able to tie up I~~~, with only 4 children slain by I~~~'s hand.

At least partially thwarted, the emperor flew after the fleeing villagers and quite methodically killed half of them with a horrid wilting. I say quite methodically because he spent some time contemplating aloud whether tis eviler to kill them all or let them live to remember this day and the pain it would bring them. . . . he took the middle road and killed half, and animated the children that he killed. He then began to walk off, and then exclaimed "wait, why am I walking!" He then vanished along with the zombie children and left the village and the party to grieve.

The party left the town, the villagers glad to be rid of them, and continued on there way. To add insult to injury, the Emperor had commanded the cleric of Wee Jas' skeletal mount, and he was absolutely incensed that the emperor excerise such blasphemous control over the dead. "Wee Jas is the mistress of the dead, not your blasphemous usurper god!" He was forced to kill his mount, as he could not break the emperor's control. I~~~ was able to shake off the emperor's last command, if not the spell, and as the emperor had given no other command, he was free to act according to his own will although he knew that the emperor could reach into his mind at any moment over the next month.

They eventually made it to the temple, where they battled a massive dire bear that had taken up residence their. Morgath raised a mighty skeleton from its corpse, and they found an ancient Merithian ritual of the sun, although they do not yet know its purpose.

All in all, I believe I acheived my personal goal for the session: make the players hate the empire as much as their characters already do.

There is a world of differece between saying someone is evil in the campaign description and demonstrating it in-game.

2007-10-14, 05:16 AM
Sounds like a really fun game to play in. I like the use of BoVD to get the mood right.

2007-10-14, 05:21 AM
I had a mental image of the emperor,and then saw the picture of the Dread Emperor from BoVD, and went "wow, that is almost spot on". Then I added a pinch of Xykon-level evil irreverance, and he was good to go. SoD really shows off how evil Xykon really is. It pushes him little 'e' evil to big 'E' Evil, in my book.

2007-10-14, 05:26 AM
Color me as you will, but I find kids to be the Swiss army knife of campaign tools. In one scene, they perfect the image of innocent joy, only to be used as a creepy (if not over used thanks to Japanese horror) LBEG in the next. Not to mention your classic use of them as helpless victims. Is there anything in game that can't be made better (or worse if the situation merits it) by a DM using kids?

2007-10-14, 07:28 AM
Um...wow. Can I play in that game? Sheesh, that was cool. Though, he reminds me more of Richard the Warlock than of Xykon.

2007-10-14, 01:13 PM
Um...wow. Can I play in that game? Sheesh, that was cool. Though, he reminds me more of Richard the Warlock than of Xykon.

I don't think either Richard or Xykon are quite that twisted. Richard kills for amusement, but he doesn't bother with human shields or tormenting people. Xykon is more goal-oriented evil, and while he occasionally does a bit of villainy for its own sake, it's still working towards his goals.

brian c
2007-10-14, 02:14 PM
What's a Tibbit?

2007-10-14, 02:19 PM
Tibbits are a halfling like race from Dragon magazine that have a housecat alternate form. They are otherwise like halflings in most respects, although they don't have the save bonus, the thrown weapon bonus, or as many skill bonuses. I do not have a link, or I would give one. I'm not sure I can post the stat block (I don't think Dragon is OGL).

2007-10-14, 02:31 PM
That is very cool. My evil emperor is based on the one from Gladiator, mostly because my father is watching it in the other room, and I occasionally look over.