View Full Version : Adventurers heckling adventurers?

Kevka Palazzo
2007-12-13, 02:23 AM
All right, guys, I need a little help.

In a rare stroke of "use the PC's backstory", I have devised a spiffy adventure for a half-dragon shifter in our Eberron campaign.

She's a druid from the Eldeen Reaches (Warden of the Wood sect). Her mommy, the dragon, died fighting one of those horrible fiends the druids all protect against, and her last wish bladda yadda etc...

The idea is that other groups, greedily searching out dragon treasure (and perhaps hired by the Lords of Dust/insert evil group here to find the location of one of those wonderful seals that keep Xoriat from being aligned with Eberron ever again) seek her out and try to glean the information from her.

My problem comes in when I try to figure out how to dramatically and effectively introduce these rival adventuring groups as well as keep them as a constant (recurring villains are so fun, especially when they're particularly close to one character).

I could have her character kidnapped, and then try to involve both her and the rest of the group at the same time via parallel action, which would be the most dramatic way to do it, IMHO. However, I know it slows down play and can seriously annoy some players (I don't know in her case, as she's new-ish to the game).

So, talk to me, is there a way to make it stay dramatic, action-packed and intense, yet still fun for the entire party?

2007-12-13, 03:48 AM
If you go the kidnapping route: give her a fair shot at defending herself against her adversaries.

Even if she's outmatched and doesn't win, being able to put up a fight and take down some of her opponents won't leave nearly as sour taste in her mouth.

If you contrive to screw her, or have her jumped at a random or unlikely time, I imagine she will be highly "annoyed". I know I would be. ESPECIALLY as a new player, as her faith/trust in you isn't strong yet, and you may push her away or totally ruin her fun if you do something like this sloppily.

I recall one time a sorceror of mine had to solo a battalion (100-150) orcs, and their leaders, including a commander that was about 3 levels over my CR. Through good rolls, character optimization and tactics I was able to defeat them, but barely. Nearly dead and out of many of my spells/consumables, I then encountered the 'next wave'. I had to surrender and be captured, as I couldn't take a fresh group.

The moral of the story was that although not ultimately winning the day sucked, having the partial victory and still having my character 'give a good showing' of himself made it much more tolerable.

2007-12-13, 07:37 AM
I'd agree with Kizara here. The kidnapping can come dangerously close to railroading if you don't plan fully.

I'd suggest if you want to take this route, you plan for her escaping the kidnap attempt (by hired lackeys) instead of being captured. The group can follow this back to the other group. If your group don't seem inclined to follow up, have another stronger kidnap attempt which is likely to succeed. Eventually they will get the hint :smallsmile:

The best route may be to plan for both success and failure of the attempt, and let the dice fall as they will.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-13, 12:46 PM
I'd reccomend you kidnap all of them as it will be boring with the game split especialy during combat.

Miles Invictus
2007-12-13, 01:06 PM
Is she going to miss a few sessions in the near future? That'd be the ideal time to kidnap her character; no party splitting, no spotlight hogging.

2007-12-13, 01:10 PM
Players react badly to party splitting, and with good reason. Unless you know and trust your players to handle it well I wouldn't split them up. Although if you know this character is going to be missing a session you could have them kidnapped for that session.

I like rival groups too. A lot. I don't like to make them evil though because that makes the players dismiss them as something they'll eventually kill. I much prefer the rival group that's straight up better than the PCs and knows it. For the most part you won't even need to make them into rivals, the players will do it on their own. Have them get involved in similar adventures as the PCs. For instance if the players are choosing between some options, the NPC rivals will finish off the options the players don't pick. They may even offer helpful advice to the PCs. I especially like having the rivals save the PCs from an overwhelming combat. Sure you save the players with deus ex machina, but it'll help build contempt. Eventually you'll want them competing for the same thing in a "this town ain't big enough for the two of us" fashion.

If you want the plot to be more specific for that one player, make her the one that somehow meets the rival group. Maybe she'd meet her counterpart and at first it's amicable and friendly so she meets the rest of the group and gets her group into it too. I dunno. Stuff like that usually works out for me. You just have to make sure you present an alternative party and it's the players who turn it into a rivalry.

2007-12-13, 01:31 PM
Splitting isn't so bad, as long as you provide them with other characters to play. In my last adventure, PCs constantly kept falling in combat and getting captured. They were provided with with slightly lower level characters to play with in the following session. We were 13th or 14th level at the time, they were provided a couple 7th level characters, who subsequently gained 3 levels in the following fight, in which another character was captured.

As we were in a demon city, getting surrounded, clearly about to be in some serious trouble, we flashed over the group that had been captured. Anyone who did not have a captured character got to play made up characters that had been captured. So we were given an Assassin, a Deva (Angel warrior), a huge golem, and a goblin warlock with dark speech, which summoned a swarm of bats. I played the swarm of bats, with 6 levels of psion :-P

Kevka Palazzo
2007-12-13, 01:31 PM
Hmm....words of wisdom.

After doing some of my own thinking, I thought of putting together a sort of Firefly-esque group as the rivals. Meaning it's a hodgepodge of hired treasure-hunters lead by a small but close-knit team. I figured one or more of the hired lackeys could be members of the Lords of Dust, while the rest of the group (and, more importantly, the leadership) is just lookin' for dragon treasure that's been left conveniently unguarded and easy-to-get-to, if hard-to-find.

As for how to introduce them to the party, I'm not sure kidnapping is even the right route to go anymore. But I'm likely to try to whole "kidnapping attempts" schtick. It works. Also, while I'm also a big fan of "friendly, better" adventuring groups, I've already got one in the campaign. I was more thinking of introducing this group as a personalized group of baddies related to one character. She'll get the spotlight for a couple of sessions before I move onto, say, the soulknife Xeph being hunted by Inspired assassins. Or the Lupin Paladin of the Silver Flame hunting down a hidden group of lycanthropes in a fit of zealous-ness.

Also, I tried the "better than you" rival party once. Nobody liked them, and they soured the game for the players. But I do agree that the antiventurers shouldn't be evil. Like valadil said, it just makes the PCs label them as people to eventually kill.

2007-12-13, 01:33 PM
Players react badly to party splitting, and with good reason. Unless you know and trust your players to handle it well I wouldn't split them up. Although if you know this character is going to be missing a session you could have them kidnapped for that session.

A guy in my group played a genie in a campaign he was in. He had to miss a lot of sessions, so whenever he couldn't make it, the story was that someone had "summoned him with the Gate spell".

He'd come back in the next session and say "son of a ____. I got summoned by some jerk that used me to kill a dragon. The dragon utterly destroyed him, so I didn't get paid! I should have known better when he offered me more gold than the dragon was worth, but he wouldn't release me from the circle of protection until I agreed."