Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Campaign: Players and Plots

I'm currently working on part two of a short series wherein I shall relay what I believe to be an incredibly useful tip for Dungeon Masters/Game Masters/Storytellers who want to personalize their campaigns and engineer player buy-in without making DMing a full-time job that pays in a roughly 5 to 1 ratio of smiles and frowns, but no actual cash. While that series is brewing, I thought I would introduce my currently fourteen readers to the characters and a bit of the storyline in my home campaign.

You'll find hints at my big tip in this post . . . if you pay attention, but don't frest, for I'll still do a full write-up. For now, though...

Player Characters

Player: Dani, a.k.a., The Wife
Character: Ellaerielle Faesong
Race: Moon Elf (High Elf)
Class: Mystic, Order of the Immortal (4)
Background: Hermit
Favorite Actions: Shortbow (with Sharpshooter feat), "Talon" (+1 longsword), Hungry Lightning (from Mastery of Weather discipline),  Grasp + Move (for capture and interrogation, from Mastery of Force discipline), Telepathy
Story: When Ellaerielle was just a small child, her mother spirited her away to be cared for by her uncle, Erendriel Stormwhisper, a former adventurer and master psychic who had been living in seclusion somewhere in the High Forest, having retired to a simpler life. 

Erendriel raised his niece as his own daughter, training her as a mystic of the Order of the Immortal, like himself. He never told Ellaerielle why she had been left in his care, which was for her own protection, however, no matter how much and how often she begged him. His task of protecting her was of greater importance than appeasing her ever-increasing curiosity about her past and her parents.

Shortly after her hundredth birthday, after she had been gathering berries in the woods, Ellaerielle, or Arael as her uncle affectionately called her (it is Elvish for 'heart') returned to her cottage to find Erendriel dying from recently inflicted wounds, gasping for air and barely holding on.

With his dying breath, the venerable elf whispered a riddle, meant to be solved by Ellaerielle, but concealed from the attackers, who, unknown to her, were presently coming to take her.

"Your brother Bristlecone dons your destiny as a verdant crown."

Those were the last words she heard before all went black.

While she was unconscious, Ellaerielle dreamt of being attacked by a horde of the living dead in a cold, rancid subterranean chamber, and then awoke in the last cell in a row or seven, seemingly in that same dungeon from her nightmare. Was it wind blowing through the cavern or the distant moans of the bloodthirsty undead which filled her hearing? Judging from the rank odor of rotting flesh, it was the latter.

With a full view of the torture tables adjacent to the cell block, full of pain-inflicting implements, which were a likely glimpse of things to come if she couldn't figure out how to free herself, Ellaerielle resolved to escape, or die trying.

Two more of the cells were also occupied, one with a snoring dwarf, and the other with a strangely dressed human, also unconscious on the floor. Perhaps they too would be interested in freedom.

Player: Christian, a.k.a., The Son
Character: Blaine Haxton
Race: Human (Earth)
Class: Hunter (4, translated from Bloodborne)
Background: Haunted One (CoS)
Favorite Actions: Ludwig's Holy Blade* (2h), Hunter's Axe* (1h), Hunter's Blunderbuss* (offhand, for light projectile AOE)
Story: Blaine doesn't remember anything before waking up on the steel table in Iosefka's Clinic, in the city of Yharnam, having just received the ministration of the Paleblood.

After that, Blaine couldn't even remember his name, much less where he was from and why he was in Yharnam in the first place, apart from the note, he recognized as being in his own handwriting, which simply and cryptically read, "Seek Paleblood to transcend the Hunt."

Blaine tried leaving the clinic, only to be disemboweled by a large wolf creature. But that was not his end, for he awoke in a strange place known as the Hunter's Dream. There, after being given his Hunter's Axe and Blunderbuss by bizarre macabre little creatures called Messengers, he met an old man in a wheelchair named Gherman who identified him as a new hunter. Based on the old man's words, and the scrawled note he found in the clinic referring to the Hunt, Blaine concluded that he must be in Yharnam to take part in this Hunt, and perhaps to somehow transcend it . . . and so he went to the lower gravestone where he somehow knew he must, and knelt, closing his eyes for just a moment. 

As he opened his eyes again, a moment later, Blaine found himself once again in Iosefka's Clinic, near a curious mystical lamp. Using his newfound trick weapon, he was able to dispatch the vile creature guarding the door and escaped the clinic. In town, it seemed like everyone he came across, men who were supposed to be taking part in the hunt, was hostile to him, referring to him as a beast. He was able to make it most of the way through Yharnam, through angry hoards of huntsmen, to a large bonfire, upon which burned a large, very dead wolf creature, like the one he had encountered in the clinic, but then he was felled again, this time by a madman with a pitchfork.

Again, Blaine awoke in the dream. This pattern repeated until finally, when he awoke at a lamp near a window where he had previously conversed with a mostly sane townsperson, he was attacked from behind, knocking him unconscious.

When Blaine awoke from the attack, he was laying on the cold stone floor of a dungeon. He wasn't alone, however, for a sleeping dwarf and a beautiful elf woman inhabited some of the other cells.

*Bloodborne class and weapons from the Bloodborne Class and Bloodborne Armory, purchased from DMsGuild.com.

Non-player Characters

Name: Flint Fireforge
Role: Party Member
Race: Hill Dwarf
Class: Fighter (2), Warlock (2)
Background: Soldier
Favorite Actions: Eldritch Blast, Witch Bolt, Hellish Rebuke
Story: After being nearly killed twice, and by filthy goblins no less, Flint found himself wandering Phandalin in a depressed haze. He was supposed to be tough, resilient, badass! But he couldn't even go up against some goblin bandits without nearly losing his head. What was a defeated dwarf to do?

Flint soon noticed a raven which seemed to be following him, and once he acknowledged the black bird, it ceased following him and began leading him. Flint didn't know how long he had been following the raven for when he finally reached a ramshackle cabin outside of town.

Within, the dwarf found an unkindness of ravens filling the place, which all began to fly at once, fleeing the cabin from every exit. When all but one had left, Flint found himself in the presence of his new goddess, the Raven Queen.

The ruler of the Shadowfell took a personal interest in the dwarf after he escaped death twice in one day, being that it is her job to ensure people go when it is their time. She offered to allow the dwarf to continue living, so long as he served her, doing her will in the world as one of her emissaries; a warlock of the Raven Queen.

Flint accepted the offer and has adopted the persona wholeheartedly, grateful for his life, and for the one who spared it.

Name: Alton Goodbarrel
Role: Future Party Member
Race: Lightfoot Halfling
Class: Swashbuckler Rogue
Background: Sailor
Favorite Action: TBD
Story: Alton is a halfling with a serious case of wanderlust. He left his home village in his early twenties and spent several years at sea, serving under the dwarf captain, Bon Brandybeard, who had made it his mission to rid the Sea of Sword of pirates. His vessel, the "Princeless" (an unintentional misspelling of, 'Priceless') travels the Sea of Sword, pirating only other pirates. All the adventure and spoils of being a pirate with none of the guilt. What a concept!

After his tenure on the Princeless, as a parting gift, Bon bequeathed to Alton both his lucky eyepatch and his inexplicably venerable, one-eyed weasel, Blinky, who Alton had grown quite fond of while at sea.

Alton now travels the Sword Coast in search of high adventure, new friends, fine foods, and strong drink. The party will meet him in the ruins of Thundertree, where he is currently hiding from the young green dragon, Venomfang, who resides in the ruined tower and recently caught the halfling pilfering his treasure stash.

Well, that's long enough! More story details will be detailed in my upcoming post about how I am bringing a personal touch to the premade module, Lost Mine of Phandelver.

Stay tuned! And stay in touch. Please comment and share if you find anything you like.

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