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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Onwards to the second installment!

    Session 10, part 2- Trouble at the camp, Battle of the Bloody Sands

    Now, one thong before I begin- none of what follows appears on the module. The first part stems from trying to lead a complex army, and specifically these units. The second part is another Mass combat which I wanted to add between the Lost chapel and the hive encounter. Just to keep these rules fresh, as well as try to add some flavor for a campaign plot. (I'll get to that). Anyway, back at the camp...

    The standoff

    As the party returned, with the two kidnappes in tow, Some of Sena's mongrelfolk rushed towards them, looking worried. "There is trouble in the camp! Some accusations and things are heating up!" The party grumbled, obviously tired and not wanting to deal with this, but they hastened their pace.

    Near the camp Nurah came to them. "Glad you are here! The Bartlets and the Lions are edging for a fight, and the tieflings are on defense. Commander John is keeping them in check, but not for long. Quick!" She hurries the party to the center of the camp.

    They were greeted with an intense scene- in the central area were the tieflings, with blades half or fully drawn, sorcerers in the middle, ready against the offenders- The Bartlets' hounds on one side, arrows nocked, and the Lions on the other side, weapons in hand, all intense, ready for violence, but Commander John's people, the Knights of Sarenrae standing as a defensive wall between them. The commander himself was in the saddle, shouting orders here and there, looking haggered, tired...

    Julian was in no mood, and stepped forward. "ENOUGH! Lay your weapons down, NOW! Or You'll have to deal with me!" Her threat didn't carry much weight it seemed, the mood was heated up. (Bad intimidate roll). She tries something else. "What happened?" She yelled angrily. Bartlet steps forward "We saw them! Their sorcerers! Conveying with the demon lords! In our midst! We will not accept this!" There were cries of assent, and some turmoil. "Who saw this?" Julian demanded. four halflings and two barbarians stepped forth. "Allright, you lot- into the command tent! The rest, to your tents! NOW!" But this didn't work. They were not mollified...

    Sena sighed, and stepped forth. He started by introducing the two kidnapees, and told that all followers of Desna would be gratified that they have reclaimed her temple tonight. He asks for the people to calm down, but they instead shout at Commander John "And who's he to suddenly grasp command? Who made him leader? We will not be subjugated to someone cursed by the gods!"

    Sena tried again to divert the attention. He talked about the death of Harry. This touched Dumas Ardent, and the Silver Banner raised their swords in a salute. "He could never swing a sword to save his life, but he was a good lad! Go forth to the heavens Harry boy!" The party smiled at that. Sena tried to calm the others down. "We will hear your grievances, but I ask for the rest of you, go to your tents, and rest. It was a long night, we shall discuss it amongst the commanders. Go and rest." He succeeded, even though many grumbled. As they went to the tent though Sena could hear two of the barbarians speak silently "The cursed one's disciple speaks? Huh!" So... Sena got some reputation, in relation to John.

    Inside the command tent

    The tent got pretty crowded- all of the armies commanders, and the support NPCs (Anevia, Aravsh, Nurah), plus the 6 halfligns and human barbarians who... saw something. Julian wishes for Sena to cast a zone of truth, but even that meets with objection. "Why should we trust him? He follows John, the ghost damned! How do we know he isn't cursed himself?!" Julian heats up, and seeks to speak for John, but Sena stops her. "John can speaks for himself."

    The commander looked... tired, his mind somewhere else. He spoke briefly, to the point. "I have shown my worth many times in the past. I have never stopped facing demons. I need prove nothing to no one. I seek to do the best for the army, accept it as you wish." With that he sat back down.

    Julian decided to speak up for him regardless. "Where were you Bartlet when Kenabres fell? Or you Jester?" (The spiritual leader of the Lions) They both answered that they arranged their forces and marched to free the city. "Well, while you were marching, Commander John here arranged the city's last defenses, and led them against overwhelming odds, and without him we would have never managed to free the city!"

    Bartlet seemed somewhat swayed, but returned an answer, along with input from Jester. "We heard he was captive in the Worldwound for many years! And that he somehow betrayed his people, and that they haunt him since! He is cursed by the gods for his cowardice!" (I saw Sena's player being alarmed by this. This part of John's history was only recently known to him, and as a rumor. It was supposed to be a great secret. I saw the wheels turning in his mind, yet he said nothing).

    Sena decided to speak as well. He spoke of John's teaching against the demons, of the building of the Knights of Sarenrae, and he attributed his entire success, the groups' success at the grey fort to John. "This place, this Worldwound, it changes people. But John is no coward. When you face what he has, and dedicate your life to fight demons as he had, we'll talk of cowardice."

    Their support of John was enough to mostly mollify the leaders, at least for now, and Sena was allowed to use a scroll to cast a zone of truth.

    The halflings speak that they've kept an eye on the tiefling, and they saw their sorcerers gathering in a tent, made dark by their dark powers, where they chanted and speak with... some forces, but the name of Deskari was spoken quite a few times! "We cannot trust them!" shouted Bartlet. "They still worship the demon lords, and WILL turn on us given the chance! We cannot march with the enemy in our midst!" This got quite a lot of commotion going.

    The barbarians told a simialr story- they have been watching the tiefligns, and saw quite a few of their regular soldiers speaking in Abyssal to the Worldwound, offering small sacrifices to it. "When will be the tipping point?" Said Jester Holten. "When will they decide it's better to fight for the enemy, and then attack us? They WORHSIP this vile cursed land! They cannot be trusted! We must now allow them to betray us when we are vulnerable!"

    Andera turned to Qulin, his long shadow wrapping itself around him and moving at odd erratic angles. "IS this true Qulin?" The tiefling leader groveled low. "Partly oh master! The people are afraid! They do not know where to turn! We fight for you, fall for you, and yet these people do not trust us, talk about us behind our backs, hate us, curse us! Some feel they are all alone in this, and fall upon... traditions! They call the old powers, but we are lost to them Master! We are yours, your tools, your people! Please, believe us Lord Andera! We seek to serve! We seek to serve!" Qulin seemed vulnerable, anxious under all of the glares, and Jester yelled back "Groveling liar! He will say anything to save their skins!"

    Julian has had enough, and she lashes at Jester. "The Worldwound has affected you as well! Look at what it has done to you- spy on your allies, accuse them, call for their demise before they have committed a crime! You say they are weak in nature, but you are weaker by far, and don't even realize it!" Along with a really bad roll, this has had a negative effect. (1 failure at the negotiation, attitude towards Julian downgraded). Jester brimmed and turned to Mad dog: "You will stand for this!?" Mad dog's player was caught by surprise, he preferred to stay away from these negotiations. He spoke briefly. "I trust the judgement of my friends, we can only win this together." Which of course, lowered his attitude with Jester as well...

    This was not going well, but Sena has been thinking, and stepped forth to talk. "In Kenabres, this kind of sayings were said about the mongrelfolk as well- They are different, cursed, touched by the demons, untrustworthy, will betray us at the first opportunity... Everyone fears the different." He stopped a bit, letting this sink in. "But, and I believe Arabeth here could attest to it- Without them we could have never freed Kenabres. And in the darkest hour, they fought a losing battle, just to buy us more time. They would have laid their lives for us..." Again, a short pause, He then put his hands on the table, determinedly. "If we go by the road of hate, it will fail us. If this is the path we choose, then let us just pack our things and go home now. The demons have already won."

    In the silence that followed, Andera stepped forth. "In Vilareth ford, Qulin and the rest of the tielfings werethe first to step into the demons' camp. Without their help, they enemy would be mroe unified, andthe Lions would have suffered many more losses. Yet, you still suspected them... In Keeper's Canyon, we went forth, climbed the cliffs of our enemies, and stopped them before any more deadly barrages were shot. And yet, you still suspected them... Well, I do not! I have fought with them there, and I will fight with them again, and I will fight with them, side by side, in the last battle of Drezen!" This vote of confidence resonated in the tent, but mostly with Qulin. This was the first time Andera made such a speech and appreciation of them. (Attitude went up).

    (Some rolls modified by the arguments later) Most of the commanders were reassured and mollified over the tieflings issue. Only two remained... Bartlet seemed unsure (Open to a counter offer by the Giant's diplomacy rules), while Jester was insulted, shamed and angry. He strode of the tent with fury. The party understood this is not over yet. The commanders have dispersed, but the PCs were not over yet. Nurah complimented the diplomatic efforts, and went to talk with the common troops and ease their spirits.

    Spoiler: DM design- trouble at the camp
    Those who read the module know there is someone pulling the strings here- Nurah, the Queen's adviser. She is the betrayer in the midst of the army. In the module she puts an addictive drug, shadow blood within the belongings of the NPC that I replaced with John. Other than that she might interfere in the siege, but the module assumes she is found out quite quickly.

    I decided to play her differently a bit. She was under the Queen's nose for Iomadae's sake! She knows well enough to keep her tracks. (And I'm not just talking spells to cover her alignment and hide her more... nefarious equipment. Her main influence is trying to turn the armies against each other, and against the commanders. It's amazing what some subtle clues and talks, as well as a suggestion spell here or there can do. persuade the tieflings that the others are against them, and maybe plant doubts that the demon lords have let "unworthy" to return to them, Tell the lions to "just look out for your army", and reassure and "understand" their suspicions, and so on...

    Commander John is a special case. Currently she tries to shake him up for two reasons- first, he is the siege expert, and his unit hold the siege weapon. If he is discredited, the army is so much weaker. Secondly- It would devastate and compromise Sena's position- he will have to choose between the army, and his Mentor and good friend, not an easy choice. I was against her putting the shadow blood in his stuff so soon- it would seem too obvious, and he is intelligent enough to understand this. I hope for a better opportunity- there would be another opportunity.

    Why these specific armies? The Bartlets, the tieflings, the Lions? Well, simply put- because they belonged to the 3 PCs that had problems to relate to their armies. As Sena has done, I wanted to push them a bit. This got a good response from Julian's player (Who seems to have decided Julian has a fairly short temper! ) and even Andera's player, who gave a cool speech. Mad dog's player... less so. Oh well, still good I think.

    I use the Giant's diplomacy rules (Check the link in the very first post), but with a contest- either there is a competition between different sides to get "wins", (First 3 succeed), or just the best out of 3. They won with most leaders, failed with Jester, and Bartlet is sort of on the edge.

    hope you like it!"

    Damage control, private conversations

    Julian went to Bartlet's private tent. She knelt down due to the low ceiling, and sat with him. This time she was much calmer, diplomatic, and... flattering. "I need to know that we can trust each other. I know the dangers the tiefligns represent, I do not fully trust them either, and if they might turn on us, they could danger the whole army..." As Sena, she gave it a short time, letting him know she is with him. "But... we need them. I am willing to give them another chance, they can change. I am asking you, not commanding you, to put your trust in me. Not them, but me."

    Bartlet thinks about it, and accepts. "Very well, the Queen trusts you, and so shall I. We shall keep an eye on them, but will give them a chance." Julian smiled, "that is all I ask!"

    One problem averted.

    Andera called for Qulin, but was quite stern with him: "This... speaking with the demon lords, is unacceptable! They are your enemies as well now! We cannot have people calling on them at this time! You will talk to the people, and have it stopped!" Qulin again groveled "Of course Master Andera! Your will be done! I shall tame them with an iron fist! We will serve you fully oh lord! "Andera was getting tired of the groveling, but couldn't manage to change that (I was having way too much fun with it! )

    And Sena? Well, Sena's sleep will wait. He had a few talks in mind, the first with Lann. The mongrelfolk leader, who was of course present at the talks, turned half amused, half sad at Sena "So this is the art of diplomacy? Squabbling like toddlers?" Sena was dumbfounded for a second, but then replied. "Sometime it is, we do with what we get. Look, I don't trust those tielfings. What I said was for the commanders' benefit. I don't think they are anywhere like our folk. There is a big difference." Sena walked beside him and talked softly "But we do not have a say on who's to blame just on thought, on who should die, and ho will be saved. Now until they do something, we cannot act, just watch." Lann nodded but stayed silent for a few moments. Finally he said "I know you got something in mind, what is it Spirit?" Sena sighed, tired of all of this mess as well. "I want your people to keep watch, over the entire situation. Not to trip the tielfings, or Bartlets or such, just... watch." Lann nodded, and went to mourn the two people who died in the Chapel.

    Next? Jester Holten. He came to the priest's tent, which seemed irritated at him coming. He forced a smile "Come man of Sarenrae." But Sena spoke directly, beyond simple niceties. "Jester, do you trust me?" Jester's face darkened. "I do not know... You follow the cursed one, and you have come... unhamred form a battle with a demon who easily felled Mad dog. I can't say I'm not suspicious... and that Julian!"

    Sena doesn't aplogize for her, but he does defend himself. "The reason I survived the demon was Sarenrae's protection, and Commander John's teachings. You will hold THAT against me?" Jester hesitated. Sena however pushed forward. "Let's talk straight. I don't trust the tieflings completely as well. I agree we should keep an eye on them, but if we aren't going to give them a chance, we are sealing our fate. What we expect of them, they will become. If we see them as traitors, they will be so."

    Jester laughed bitterly. "You speak like a true optimist, like a true priest of The Redeemer. But we, my people, have lost so many to their kind, we have lost our cities, our wives, our children, our country to the demon spawned! We have been betrayed too many times, and we know their evil, it cannot easily be turned!"

    They exchange a few more views (didn't write those down), but Sena finishes with the following. "Let me propose something- I will make SURE we know if they intend to betray us. My mongrelfolk will observe. You can't catch them yourself. You can of course, watch them yourself. I respect you, your warriors, your courage and your ways. Let us work it out, we cannot have the army fight itself."

    With the arguments and good diplomacy (including the last mythic surge) Sena manages to avert the worst for now, but doesn't revert the Lions' suspicious. They have escaped the worst, for now... Jester seems to think, and observes Sena. "Maybe you and the others ARE changers. We shall give you the benefit of the doubt."

    Lastly Sena went to John. The commander was removing his armor, and talking to Nurah, who tried to reassure him that he has done well. She smiled at Sena, and left them to talk. "Are you ok? Luckily you were there, or we would have no army to return to." John laughed bitterly. "Luckily you have arrived, I was having little affect on them. This is a... complicated army to run." John sighed, closing his eyes. "I think we shall all be tested before this is done. The worldwound tests all." Sena seemed worried, and put a hand on his mentor's shoulder. "John, I know you have doubts, but you are still the person I hold most dear. I hope you will keep doing as you do. We need you." John smiled, and patted Sena. "Thanks, but now it is time to sleep. We may not have much time till we need to march. It has been a loooong night!"

    Sena rose "Indeed it has. Indeed it has." And left

    Spoiler: Sena and Commander John
    Some of you must be thinking- doesn't he notice there is something wrong here? Thing is- I'm sure the player does. But he also wants to see where this goes, and play out the relationship (Or so I believe) and so is willing to let his suspicions be. (I think he understood something was wrong from The start of this module).

    The player have asked me to not make John a betrayer/ Darth Vader type. In a way I will play upon this a bit. John will stay a good guy, but might make some mistakes, if the party doesn't stop things in time. But the player would like this I think, he believes in inner conflicts, and hard decisions.

    Continuing the march, day 6, The battle of Bloody Sands

    Next morning, (A bit late) The army was moving again. The two mounted units and The Knights of Sarenrae (With the siege engine) traveled in the gorge, while the rest above the cliffs on the north bank.

    Random Worldwound rolls: First they met some bad omens- the sky looking weird, the sounds of spirits bemoaning and asking for release. They rolled or moral, and both the Queen's Knight and the Silver Banner's moral decreased. (I should have played it out more, but the session was coming near to a close.)

    nest they found necrotic vermin in some of the units provisions, but Bartlet's hounds somehow had extra provisions (A mistake from messing with the army files? Or did they buy? Never mind) ,And were able to replace that.

    They were coming on a narrow point in the canyon, riddled with little caves in the cliffs, when suddenly the sands in front burst with a large host of bloody skeletons, and in the armies midst rose mud elementals! And worst of all, 2 packs of about 100 Vargouiles each came shrieking from the caves, towards the above armies.

    But all of the armies had ranged weapons, and after Julian learned that Vargouiles could take out a head with a kiss, she used her mythic points to add fireballs! These along with the barrage of arrows decimated the vargouiles while the Silver Banner and Knights of Sarenra managed to dispatch of the elementals.

    The bloody skeletons proved a bit difficult due to their DR, but The Lions, mongelfolk, Tieflings and Queen's knights ganged up on them from all sides and ripped them apart! All in all, the battle proved to be far easier than I expected, but the group felt good about doing something fairly simple for once, and scoring a good victory. They managed to get a bunch of upgrades (tactics or boons) For different armies, which was appropriate, giving that they are soon coming upon Drezen...

    A bit over 2 days from now. But first- the Hive of the vesecrators...

    Each player's XP: 30,330

    So we stopped here. I hope you enjoyed reading, we had a blast. I imagine that in the next session we'll reach Drezen, for which I'm still contemplating a few surprises and the first mythic challenge- Soltengrebbe!

    As always, feel free to ask, leave comments or just say hi!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-10-18 at 08:31 PM.

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