Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The State of the Campaigns

I have five campaigns I'm running right now, each bi-weekly. I'd like to consider the beginning of March as the start of the gaming season, since everyone gets sick in Jan & Feb. So here's where everything is at as of the last session:

THE LAST FLEET (BSG Inspired Fantasy Homebrew with Microscope world building)
The Fleet finally made it through the Stormwall into a new realm. However, they quickly discover a place caught up in a massive war between two Elven Empires. On one side, the Dominion of Timbers possesses the secrets of slaying gods and reforging them into weapons. On the other side, the Confederation of Rings fights a losing battle to protect their remaining deities, turning to secret and self-destructive magicks in their defense. The party makes their way to the independent mining colony of Neversun, where they learn much and save the life of the Grand Vizier, twin to the Gnomish Necromancer they fought.

The Vizier presents them with several options and suggestions about where they might go to find refuge and resources to the fleet. All are dangerous. Before leaving Neversun, the party takes over an underworld gambling den and establishes their own people there as intelligence sources. They travel to Carcul where the great spawning of the Sky-Sharks is about to occur. There they work to impress the Flotsdam Runners, a group of expert guides and sky-sailors. In the midst of the massive hunt, Marreg the Orc leaps from his vessel and punches a Killer Sky Whale in the eye- killing it as all rolls sync up in a moment of glory. Bridgehowl, leader of the Runners is duly impressed. They agree to lead the party into the Curse- the abandoned orcish lands, cursed by the dying Orc gods when they fell to the Dominion of Timbers.

WAYWARD (Changeling: The Lost homebrew)
The group returns from the Deep Hedge, having completed their quest. They've brought with them several changelings rescued from various durances, including two who seem to contain the other parts of the sewn together darkling known as Stitcherman. The group now have the blessing of the power of Judgment to establish a new Court- one which they hope will bring balance to Wayward by squaring things with the other three Courts: Rust, Gardens and the Wolf. First they manage to bring over to their side a number of fringe members of the exiled Winter Court. They obtain oaths from them and clear the new members of past misdeeds. Finally they present themselves to Edward Brambleteeth to announce their new Court- he's angry, but they point out that they set out at his orders. The situation becomes more complicated when they unmask a Keeper among the numbers of Gardens, Lonesome Dog. The Keeper escapes and Edward tells them to leave while he considers their petition.

The group then presents themselves to Sybold Futures, Prince of the Court of Rust and Edward's brother. They want Sybold to recognize them and the Court of Wolf as official Courts. Sybold tells them they have his blessing if they can essentially clean up all of the outstanding messes in the city before the end of March. The group agrees- knowing that it will be heavy work and will put them at odds with Edward. They consult with an imprisoned elemental of karma who gives them important information. That allows them to kill the Winter Court's deadliest agent, the Wizened Soldier Unbecoming Tim. They deliver his head to a shocked Sybold. That done they follow up on various leads- considering how to best handle destroying the enemy Draconic Fairest. Edward meets with them again and reveals much about the secrets of the old dynasty, but the group shocks him with many other facts he was unaware of. Finally while out driving, Nate spots one of the Winter Court leaders, Regardless, meeting with the disguised Keeper Lonesome Dog. Though they're enemies of the Winter Court- he cannot bear the thought of the Keeper using them for its own ends.

ARTIFACTS (High Fantasy Homebrew with Microscope world building)
The group continues on their quest to undo the spell which causes the sun to burn the land like a furnace. Each day for the hours surrounding noon it blazes and bakes the land. The Oracle continues to present them with a set of choices of direction- unable to specifically guide them since the shattering of prophecy. In the compound of the Seven Masterless Killer families, the uncover a secret- that the destruction of those families had not been a betrayal, but rather an internal purge organized from their secret alliance with the Empire and the possessed Empress. Armed with this knowledge, the group fought their way free, managing to kill a few of the new leadership. Next they arrived in the great city of Neylan, the de facto capital of one of the rebellious provinces. They untangled a complex riddle- revealing that one of their own number was not who he believed himself to be. Rather, he had been possess and manipulated by a powerful artifact to give it a body. Still unsure of what that episode had added to their quest, the group moved on.

They arrived at a field of corpses, site of a battle. Following the trails back, they discovered a tower under siege by a madman mercenary and his monstrous allies- servants of the Mad Empress. Within the besieged castle, they found the Empress' brother who had come here- like the group- seeking the Bells of Pellic to break the Sunblaze Curse. But the Bells had already vanished from this place. The group fought a desperate holding action against the army, at the same time battling agents of the Night Elves who infiltrated in search of the Bells. Only but summoning and organizing the spirits of the dead from the early battle did they managed to defeat their foe, but few remained alive from the castle. Taking the Prince with them, they moved on.

And found themselves in a strange and frozen place- a garden with dancers and fountains held in time. But they came to life at the behest of a wooden golem who called the party member Batu, the barbarian, his master. Treated to food, wine and dancers, the group tried to assess their situation privately. Batu had no real memory of this place- but in the interrogation the rest of the group realized that the “Batu” that they knew was not the barbarian, but instead the magic item he held possessing him. That item, a ring cut from a unicorn horn pointed to the key. As various agents appeared and spoke to Batu, who they called Lord Scarreign, it became clear that there were powerful amoral manipulators behind the scenes- the ancient unicorns. Batu's ring realized that though it believed itself to be one of these unicorns, in fact it was a device created to sow chaos among them. The group made a break for it as the real Lord Scarreign returned- rescuing two prisoners. One of those, the scholar Error Dricel had a solution for finding the Bells- not seeking the Bells themselves which could not be scryed, but rather searching for the tell-tale fragments of the spells which had once held the Bells in place. Only two might would know how to do that- and with that the two gates opened...

LIBRI VIDICOS (Steampunk Hogwarts Fantasy Homebrew)
In the midst of the school being invaded, the group manages to bring back the dead headmaster, Direlond, killed at the end of the previous year in a battle with these same enemies. The group finally managed to put the pieces together of his puzzle in time to revive him. He lends his aid, getting many of the students and staff to safety. However the enemy has clearly been enacting some kind of powerful ritual using the schools teleportation system. When they go outside, the group sees another school- the fifth one- presumed destroyed in the battle with the Ardorans centuries ago. The group decides to travel there- clearly the invading forces want something from that lost school, enough to stage a raid on Libri Vidicos to get to it. They travel over- but almost immediately face another threat with the appearance of a Chronal Drake, a beast which breathes age and decay. They watch helplessly as Libri Vidicos teleports away- escaping from the drake's assault. They are now trapped here...despite this they continue to press on, exploring and eventually coming upon the enemy- including several of the traitor instructors and students. A massive melee breaks out and the group lets loose a variety of powers which cause the walls and floors to crumble. The party makes a desperate bid to escape- activating the defenses of a secure room. When they release the door lock, they find themselves in a new place: Sigil the City of Doors.

There they meet with several members of the planar mercenary group, the Sons of the Tower. Some of them come from the party's world and have been seeking a way back. The group aids him in hunting down another key which may lead back home in a mad journey across the city that takes them from shops, to a barfight, to a collapsing arena and finally into the awful sewers of Sigil. They get the key and activate it- returning at last to Libri Vidicos. The headmaster congratulates them on their victory. The mood though, is bittersweet, as a ceremony soon follows to honor those who fell in the battles. The school year moves on- with the party having the chance to set up a last, massive party for all of the student body, especially the graduating fifth years and the guest students from the other two schools. It goes off as a massive success.

WALLS OF PAVIS (High fantasy Homebrew with Gloranthan elements)
The group returns from their travels to rescue the last people of Kraletorea untouched by the influence of the God Chainers. They have managed to defeat two of the inner circle of their enemies, recruit a number of soldiers and craftsmen, and save the new avatar of the Dragon of Change. But the cost has been high- with the death of Raythe's god Phairdon in the battle. They have a few days to rest in Pavis before they must aid the Flintnail Cult with a ceremony in the Rubble designed to bring blessings to their work and the city. The group make deals to take several of the traditional adversaries of the Flintnail's out of the picture and arrive to give aid. This puts them at odds with the more radical Pavis Cult members who see the party as Lunar toadies. The group triumphs despite this, making a deal to gain the aid of the Trolls in exchange for granting them rights to a newly revealed temple in the heart of the Rubble. The Grey Company, leaders of the radical Pavis Cultists, respond by killing one of the party's agents. Raythe, still angry over the loss of his god, takes the fight to the grey Company's door. He calls on his last favor from Labrygon and they appear in the middle of the Company's secret refuge. The party slaughters everyone there, leaving only one survivor to tell the tale. They gather two of the Masks of Pavis and use them to gain allies within the city, including the moderate Pavis Cult leadership.

Next they turn their attention to the food supply and venture forth to follow the trunk of the great Giant Tree, in hopes of locating some resources. After some travel they manage to uncover enormous mushrooms as well as massive seed grains. However, they have to fight off several giant predators including mice, owls and snakes. After securing enough to offer Pavis a significant safety net, they encounter yet another of the Seven Pharaohs- those who will have to travel to The End of Time to fight against it. When the group returns to Pavis they work on getting various helpers and agents into place; they suspect that the God Chainers will bring the battle to the Valley of Prax and they want to be ready. To bring the community together, the group decides to spend much of their resources providing a festival for the city. With a Pavis Ceremony a week away, complete with a bardic context, they decide to offer a contest, event or display each day leading up to that. Each party member chooses a day and comes up with an activity and ties it into their own god, as a means of giving honor to their lesser known deities. They put on a scavenger hunt, a footrace, an obstacle course and a special market day with prizes.