« on: July 04, 2015, 06:05:34 am »
The idea was great, but all 3 published versions sucked.
So, doing it myself. Instead of some demon lords being behind the fake elemental cult, it's run by an inner circle of Vecna cultists. Of course, the undead Vecna has moved on to bigger and better things than being a moldy old undead thing, so he has no intention of coming back. But they're dumb and maniacal, and yanno...
Anyway, I have two groups going through the campaign at the same time, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. I am not running the same adventure twice, I am running them both through at the same time, and the actions of one group affect the other, and vice-versa. In fact, tomorrow they all sit at the table together for a massive "Rumble in the Slums".
The groups have cleared out and set up shop in a couple of arcane sites, smacking around some temple heavies in the process (and learning of the return of the ancient threat). The local wizards guild has decided they want the sites, and have hired goons to take the parties out. The more experienced party has gotten wind of this, and the fact that the guild is going to take out the less experienced party first. So they send a henchman to warn the group (who is going down to the docks to meet a guy who supposedly knows where the ancient evil temple is).
The more experienced group arrives just as the bad guys kick off their ambush.
The map of the docks and the adjoining slum is divided into 19 segments, and each segment has either hit men of one kind or another, or nothing, or helpful people from a gang the parties are friendly with (which is to say, they have common enemies). Each segment also has "chase" conditions that have to be met before anyone can enter them (crowded street, etc). This of course applies to the good guys and the bad guys, and may result in groups of both being split, as individuals make the required checks. The less experienced PCs arrive randomly in one of the first 8 zones (the Northern half of the map), and the other party arrives in either zone 1, 5, or 9. The less experienced PCs are out of their league, and have to survive until the other party shows up.
Also, there's a pack of pit bulls that wander the map and attack either side. Because life is just more FUN with a horde of feral pit bulls. Oh, and more giant rats than you can shake a stick at. And a swarm of carniverous cockroaches. And CANNIBAL STREET URCHINS. Because slums. And it's raining like Goddamn Portland, mostly so they don't burn the city down, but also because the modifiers are universal and vastly amusing (to me). Lastly, the bad guys in an adjoining zone may see the PCs if they make a ruckus, and attempt to move into their zone to attack, and all bad guys chase good guys no matter where they go.
Victory conditions are:
PCs are killed - obviously, bad guys win, campaign over.
PCs survive by fleeing the slums - draw, no information, and the goons are still out for them.
PCs get to the informant and then escape - PCs win, get information.
PCs wipe out 80-100 percent of the bad guys - Crushing victory, PCs get information, wizards guild humiliated, bonus experience for everyone.
The parties have three (3) hours of real time to complete their objectives.
The bad guys are a mixed bag of lunatic bleachling gnomes, red mantis assassins, street thugs, some murder cultists, a solo monk bounty hunter, and some Sczarni (ie, Roma) hit men (among other things).
The friendly gang, the Garbanzo brothers outfit, is located in two zones, and can be made helpful with a diplomacy check, in which case they either toss the PCs a healing potion or two OR eliminate any one group of assassins chasing the PCs.
Now, this comes off almost like a boardgame, and it really is for this session, but that's the best way to get the cinematic feeling ala Indiana Jones or Brandon Fraser in The Mummy.
If they live through this, then phase two starts, and the more experienced party goes off to the temple, while the less experienced party works for that nice old deformed noble that's been paying them for odd jobs that are getting more than a little disturbing.