Game Thread Iron DM DNDOG- 2007- Kitchen Stadium Round 2 AGWolf v. Dinkleberg - RPG Crossing
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Iron DM DNDOG- 2007- Kitchen Stadium Round 2 AGWolf v. Dinkleberg

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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Dink vs, Agwolf:

Your ingredients:

Fiendish Mole
Missing Ghost
Splintering Plane
Flayed Corpses
Subtle Note
Sympathy

You have 36 hrs as well, since I extended that to the other round. Best of Luck.
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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Ingredients:
Fiendish Mole
Missing Ghost
Splintering Plane
Flayed Corpses
Subtle Note
Sympathy

DNDOG Iron DM 2007 - Dinkleberg’s Entry for Round 2 – Opponent: AGWolf

SYMPATHY FROM THE DEVIL
An adventure for an Xth-level party*

Background

Monster hunting. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. And the pay isn’t too bad either. With that in mind, the Exterminators were founded – tough men and women with kind hearts who let steel and spells do their talking for them. Over thirty years now, they’d been keeping the countryside safe, but they didn’t expect this.
The small town of Brightcreek was having a problem. After a few months of disappearing livestock, the mayor’s daughter had been killed, her skin having been ripped off of her bones. The Exterminators swiftly started an investigation, and tried to speak with dead, but to their disgust and astonishment the body had no soul – it had been turned into an empty, skinless husk. Normally, the absence of a soul means the person has turned into a ghost, but there had been no reports of ghosts, either. Then, the following morning, an Exterminator was found dead. Her soul, too, was gone.
This signals the start of an investigation by the PCs (perhaps sent as freelance Exterminators, or simply passing through Brightcreek), who must find the murderer before he, she or it gets to them.

Investigating the Scene

The PCs have either been sent from Exterminator HQ, or have been asked to help investigate by the Exterminators’ squad leader in Brightcreek: Joseph Dawnstar, a kindhearted Cleric of Pelor. As the PCs inspect the scene (the room of the inn where the Exterminator was staying), they can see clear signs of a struggle between the Exterminator and her assassin. The corpse is lying on the middle of the bed, and the skin seems to either have been ripped or bitten off- what else could make the corpse look like it has been ripped apart?
As they head downstairs, the PCs are greeted by several more Exterminators: the Half-Elven Rogue Tricia Cormiira, the Human Paladin Cynthia Dawnstar (Joseph’s daughter), and the Gray Elven Wizard, Lord Baran Dûr’óre. There is also a Half-Orc Barbarian, Elgar, who does not speak Common.
Lord Dûr’óre hypothesizes that the killer must be one of the Exterminators – their sweep of the area revealed no monsters, after all. The others find this a ridiculous notion, and state that the monster probably has a way of hiding itself. “Creatures of the dark have many faces..” the Gray Elf mysteriously states…

Sweeping for Evil

Lord Dûr’óre suggests that Cynthia should use her abilities to check everyone for the presence of evil, and then tell the PCs the outcome. Cynthia is hesitant at first, but the Elf insists, persuading her eventually. Cynthia tells the PCs that only Elgar radiates an aura of evil – only he “has a dark heart”. Lord Dûr’óre (whose last name literally means Dark Heart in Elven) comments during dinner that “Elgar probably killed those people” because it is in his nature to kill – he is a savage Half-Orc, after all. “But I do sympathise for those who have no control of their own actions. I am sure Elgar did not want this to happen, deep down in his heart.” Joseph condemns the Elf’s blatant racism, stating that Elgar would never kill innocent people, and that he wouldn’t dare touch a fellow Exterminator.
The next morning, Joseph has been killed the same way as the others. Blood splattered across the walls form the letters “E-L-“. Also, the players can overhear a fight between Cynthia and Dûr’óre coming from another room. However, when they go to check, the two are calmly talking about a book they both read. As the Elf hears of the splattered blood, he confirms that this must mean that Elgar is the killer after all, and Joseph was trying to signal this.

Confronting Elgar

Tricia then takes the party to where Elgar is staying – an inn in the shady part of town. She translates the accusations and tells him what happened to Joseph, but Elgar flatly denies everything. He only has one thing to say: “Elf”. Tricia will confirm that Elgar could not have killed anyone- she claims to have been with him every night for the past couple of weeks, and ensures the party that they were doing something far better than killing farmers and colleagues. And if Elgar isn't even able to form coherent sentences, how is he supposed to SUCK OUT SOULS?! That leaves only two suspects – Cynthia and Lord Dûr’óre.

Massacre at the Inn

As the PCs enter the inn, the stench of death fills their nostrils. All of the patrons have been gruesomely killed along with the entire staff, their skin stripped off. A scream from upstairs – Cynthia.
The party rushes upstairs to find Lord Dûr’óre hovering over Cynthia’s lifeless, scarred (but mostly intact) body, and they see a stream of purple energy flowing from her mouth to his.
Lord Dûr’óre then reveals his true form: he is a devil by the name of Orudûr, a creature unlike anything the party has encountered before. He reveals that he sympathises with mortals: So fragile, so weak. He was always ridiculed by the other Devils himself, for not having enough power and being weak. He claims that he was bringing salvation to humans by absorbing their souls, ending their miserable, pathetic lives. He then transported their corpses to the Splintering Plane, causing their skin to be gruesomely ripped off – that way, he could blame it on someone else. When the Exterminators arrived, he killed one of them and took his place to avoid suspicion, using the ripped skin to blame Elgar. A fight begins, and because Orudûr has been weakened by slaughtering the entire ground floor at once, he can only make limited use of his ability to transport objects and people to the Splintering Plane. He is still a formidable foe, regardless.
After the party defeats Orudûr, he congratulates them on ending his miserable life. Cynthia wakes up, and explains that though she knew about Orudûr’s true nature, she could not kill him- because she loved the original Dûr’óre, she was an easy target for Orudûr’s mind control, who used her to frame Elgar.
The party then receive rewards from both the townsfolk, and the surviving Exterminators.
Perhaps the Exterminators will have need of their skills again in the future..?


Ingredients Review:
Fiendish Mole: Orudûr is the mole. He's posing as an Exterminator, secretly killing them one by one.
Missing Ghost: Orudûr sucks the soul (“ghost”) out of the people he kills.
Splintering Plane: Orudûr sends his victims here so that their bodies become maimed. He also used this ability against the PCs in their fight.
Flayed Corpses: The corpses ripped apart by the powers of the Splintering Plane.
Subtle Note: Orudûr leaves subtle notes to indicate he is the killer. Cynthia breaks his might over her shortly and is able to leave the “dark heart” hint.
Sympathy: Orudûr’s sympathy for mortals, who are insignificant and weak – exactly how the other Devils describe him.

*Note: as Orudûr's stats would need to be worked out, this adventure would be suitable for just about any ECL party.


EDIT: This isn't even an adventure. It's a story. I'll leave it on here, but I respectfully withdraw from the contest.

Last edited by Dinkleberg; Dec 5th, 2007 at 04:29 AM.
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 10:26 PM
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It's about a thousand more words than asked for, sorry about that. Kinda got carried away with the idea. Anyway, here it is, hope you enjoy it!

But I Did Cast the Spell that Killed Them.
For a group of 6th and 7th level characters.

A person's corpse can tell many things. With or without magical intervention, it can tell how the person was killed, what he or she was doing at the time, if the death was honorable, and perhaps who killed the person. This tale begins with such a corpse, who will soon join others in a web of murder and deception.

The blade was swung downward and penetrated the helpless man's chest, ending his life in an instant. Alexander walked around the table and approached the demon warily. “It is done.” The outsider nodded and handed the wizard a small red orb. “You need only your name and it shall open.” The wizard nodded and dismissed the demon. The wizard held the orb tightly in his hand and said his name aloud. Immediately, he disappeared from sight and appeared in the demi-plane that had been created for him. It was hardly the size of his shop, but he was alone, and that was how he preferred it. He would use this space to experiment with magic, as he could no longer tolerate his neighbors' complaints of his art. After admiring his new acquisition, he said his name again and returned to the Material Plane. As if an afterthought, he lifted the man's corpse from the table and carried it to the window. After making sure no one was watching, he lowered it onto a pile of refuse and buried it underneath the garbage – he would dispose of it later.

For days, Alexander used his personal demi-plane to conduct his experiments in peace, practicing even arts that many other wizards frowned upon. However, it all came crashing down...literally. One night, he had attempted to invoke a spell far beyond his abilities, and his failure caused a torrent of magical energy to be released into the demi-plane. The impact was so great, that the plane began to splinter, distorting into impossible shapes and causing negative energy to be released into the Material Plane. Alexander quickly escaped...only to find the damage caused by his failure. Some of the energy that had escaped tore through the side of his shop and engulfed a merchant's wagon outside, killing the entire company of four. Alexander quickly assessed the situation and saw that, for now, there were no witnesses. He used an Invisibility spell to hide the wagon and the merchants. By the time the guard came to investigate, Alexander was able to explain the situation away by saying that he had just had an accident and that no one was hurt. As all the evidence of the wagon loaded into the wagon and made invisible, the guard was satisfied and left Alexander to repair his home. Alexander hid the wagon behind his shop and covered it with some large sheets before examining the people who had been killed. His initial plan had just been to destroy the wagon and the corpses and be done with the ordeal, but then he saw a small metal emblem on one of the corpses. It was a circle made up of twelve wagons, with a set of scales in the middle of them. The emblem of The Twelve Wagons Trading Co. Alexander remembered that name well, for it was the chief supplier of his rival, a wizard a few blocks away by the name of Gerard. It was quite a well-known company, and he knew that there would be an investigation if the wagon didn't arrive at Gerard's shop. He knew that no one saw the destruction of the wagon, but there must have been someone that saw it go towards his shop. He decided that there was too much he didn't know to assume that the situation would resolve itself, and reasoned that he would have to make the merchants die some other way, so that he would never be investigated.

That meant he would need to find another wizard to pin the blame on. Along that road, there was only one other wizard the wagon would have passed before him...if that person could be called a wizard. The man he was thinking of is Ricardo, a street magician. Ricardo knew only a handful of spells, but with his quick tongue and sleight of hand, he had become quite well known among the commoners. Alexander quickly formulated a plan, and the next evening carried it out.

Ricardo was performing at the Bread and Circuses Inn only a few blocks down from Alexander's house, and coincidentally, on the same road that the caravan would've been traveling. Alexander cast another invisibility spell on the wagon and used his magic to park it in an alley a short distance from the tavern. Disguised by a Disguise Self spell, Alexander watched the performance and goaded Ricardo into performing a summoning spell. Alexander knew that Ricardo couldn't possibly cast it, but would never admit that to his public. Alexander had prepared the spell in advance so that he could cast it without drawing any attention to himself, and sure enough, a fiendish mole appeared next to Ricardo. The performer, not about to let a lucky break go to waste, immediately claimed that he had summoned it. After a short display on stage, Alexander commanded the creature to run off the stage and into the audience, biting and clawing at any of them it could reach before it leapt out through a window. In the commotion, Alexander had escaped and began walking back to his home. Within moments, the invisibility spell on the wagon wore off, and the bodies of the merchants (whom he had flayed, to make it seem like a certain mole could have killed them) became visible. It wasn't more than ten minutes before Ricardo was arrested.

The next day, Gerard heard all that had happened and knew something was afoot. Ricardo was a good friend of his, as well as his student, for it was Gerard that had taught Ricardo his few spells. He began to investigate the wagon and the bodies, but Alexander had been expecting this. He began to follow Gerard, hoping to stop him in case he found something incriminating. Gerard was soon aware of this, however, and stepped into the Bread and Circuses to look for assistance.

The Hook:

The PCs will be staying at the Bread and Circuses Inn, and will no doubt have heard of what happened the previous evening from the tavern's patrons. Gerard will approach them and them if they would help him right an injustice, explaining to them that he doesn't think Ricardo is the kind of person to summon anything fiendish. He will offer the PCs some magic items from his shop if they ask, but he will not mention Ricardo's inexperience as the basis for his theory. He knows that Ricardo's reputation is extremely important to him and will not damage it...not yet, anyway. As soon as the PCs agree to help, some guards will enter the tavern, accuse Gerard of telling Ricardo to summon the fiendish mole, then arrest him. As he leaves, Gerard asks that the adventurers follow him to the jail so that they can talk to Ricardo.

Questioning Ricardo can be done with any speech-related skill, but unless the PCs make very good rolls (As shown below), he will insist the he cast the summoning spell. If the PCs want more information than what their roll grants them, they can attempt a sense motive check against his bluff check. If the PCs are successful, they also receive the next highest piece of information.

DC 10: He tells the PCs about his show, claiming that he was distracted by the audience, which caused him to lose control of the mole.
DC 15: He claims that he summoned the mole, but for some reason, it wasn't under his control
DC 20: He says that the fiendish mole wasn't what he expected when he cast the spell, so he wasn't prepared to control it.
DC 25: He admits that he didn't actually cast the spell
DC 30: He admits that he can't cast the spell.

Whatever information the PCs acquire from him, he'll recommend they go see another wizard if they want more information, and gives them directions to Alexander's house. If they managed to make him admit that he didn't cast the spell, he'll ask them to keep it a secret, as he doesn't want his reputation ruined. He promises to give them the “secrets to his success” if they keep his secret. As the PCs leave the jail, they are ambushed by a group of thugs hired by Alexander. If the PCs manage to capture one of them alive, the thug will reveal that they were hired by a wizard, but don't know anything else.

As they leave, the PCs are taken to the wagon where the bodies were discovered (it has been parked outside the jail). The wagon has several bloodstains, and the five bodies have been flayed. The countless wounds on the corpses are all claw and teeth marks, all about the right size for a slightly larger than normal mole. The guard will comment that last night, the ghosts of four of the victims were hovering around the wagon, but the fifth was missing. None of the ghosts remember how they had been killed, however.

Search (DC 20): one of the bodies has a stab wound right above his heart, and does not wear the same emblem as the other four. The guard will also identify this person as the one without a ghost.
Search (DC 15): there is not nearly enough blood to match the wounds on the cart itself.
Casting Speak with the Dead will not work on any of the corpses as the mouths of each have been heavily damaged, rendering it impossible for the corpses to speak.

Police Work

At this point, the PCs are free to investigate the case as they see fit. The two locations available to them are the Bread and Circuses tavern and Alexander's house.


If they decide to go to the Bread and Circuses tavern, their skills will yield them different information.

Gather Information (DC 10): The patrons say that before last night, they had never seen Ricardo summon anything.
Gather Information (DC 20): No one at the tavern recognized the man who asked Ricardo to perform the spell.
Spot (DC 15): A candle at one table near the stage is a different color than all the others (if both this and the DC 20 Gather Information check are successful, the PCs also learn that this was the table the mysterious guest sat at; also, any arcane caster PCs will recall that the candle is a component in the summoning spell, and if there are no such PCs, Gerard can reveal this, if shown the candle).
Spellcraft (DC 10): There were no candles on the stage when Ricardo performed
Spellcraft (DC 15): The tavernkeep comments that he's seen a few different summoning spells from various entertainers, but the motions Ricardo made to summon the mole were quite different than the others (This can also be acquired if one of the PCs casts Summon Monster 1 in the tavern).

Making either Gather Information check will cause one of the waitresses to get extremely angry. She claims that someone dear to her was killed that night, and will draw sympathy from the patrons as she recounts her tale. She'll condemn the PCs for trying to defend Ricardo, whom she believes to be guilty. A DC 30 diplomacy will calm the crowd down, but otherwise, they'll become agitated and harass the PCs. Some will attack the PCs, though will only deal nonlethal damage and others will try to pickpocket them. Since these people are technically innocent, it is an evil action to kill any of them (and at the PCs levels, that won't be difficult at all), but once either the PCs leave, knock out four of the patrons, or kill one of them, the crowd will disperse and leave them be.

If the candle was found, a child will run into the PCs and attempt to pickpocket it from them as they leave the tavern (+4 to sleight of hand check). If the child is caught, she'll beg the PCs forgiveness and say that she was put up to it by a cloaked man in an alley near the tavern (Alexander, of course). He'll have noticed the girl was caught, however, and have activated his Invisibility Ring already. However, the PCs will notice a few bloodstains on one of the walls in the alley. If the PCs made the successful Search check on the bloodstains on the wagon, a DC 15 Search check here will reveal that there is not nearly enough blood at the scene to match the damage done to the victims. Also, if one of the PCs is able to cast Summon Creature 1 (or with a DC 20 Spellcraft check), he or she will notice that the distance between the alley and the tavern would have been too far for Ricardo to maintain the summon. If the PCs take longer than five rounds to investigate the alley, they will encounter two creatures summoned by Summon Monster IV spells (summoned by Alexander).


If the PCs decide to go to Alexander's shop, he will be behind the counter writing sales records into a ledger. He'll greet the party warmly and immediately direct the closest PC to an item that would interest him or her (a magic weapon or armor for a fighter, gloves of dexterity for a rogue, etc.) A sense motive check here will not reveal any information, as it would only seem like a merchant's natural tendency to try and sell products, which will be supported by the poor figures in the sales ledger if the PCs notice it. Even more so, anything the PCs purchase will have a 10% markup, 20% if he sees that they're wealthy. The PCs will also notice an awful smell if they approach the back window, but looking through the window will yield nothing more than Alexander admitting he doesn't exactly dispose of his alchemical accidents properly. If the PCs visited the tavern first and found the candle, they will notice that the candles located throughout the store are identical to it. Once the PCs begin to question him, he will maintain his friendly demeanor unless they accuse him of something. The PCs may make one additional attempt to get information out of him, but not if they use Intimidate to question him or if they've already accused him.

DC 10: He explains that he has attended a couple of Ricardo's performances, and wishes the PCs the best of luck in getting Ricardo acquitted.
DC 15: He admits that he accused Gerard, as he knows that Gerard is Ricardo's tutor.
DC 20 (accusation): He states that yesterday evening he was at home repairing part of the roof that collapsed after an accident, and that the city watch can back this up (a DC 20 Search check or a DC 15 Knowledge: Architecture check will reveal that the roof did not collapse on its own).


After investigating both locations, the PCs should be directed back towards Bread and Circuses, as visiting hours are over at the jail. During the night, they will be attacked by a group of assassins (or summoned creatures, DM's call) sent after them by Alexander. After the assassins are defeated, the tavernkeep will tell the PCs of a ghost seen by Alexander's shop (not outright, probably though exasperation, “I tell ya...first someone sees a ghost and next there's thieves running amok in my inn...what else could go wrong tonight?”). Following the lead, the PCs will find the missing ghost kneeling in the refuse pile outside Alexander's window. The ghost will not interact with them at all until they search the pile, finding a gold ring buried deep within. The ghost will explain that it was for his fiancée, as he would've proposed to her that very evening. He'll identify the woman as the waitress who incited a riot at the tavern. He'll also say that the last thing he remembers before dying is a demon holding a small, red gem.

Returning the ring to the waitress at the inn will cause her mood to change entirely. She'll burst into tears and thank the PCs for giving it to her. If they tell her where his ghost was found, she'll inform them that his route from work to the tavern took him right past the store, and the last time she saw him was in the afternoon two days ago (three days if it's already morning).

Upon returning to the jail, Ricardo will tell them that Alexander visited him after they had left. While his back was turned, Ricardo managed to pickpocket a note and a small red gem from Alexander. He will repeatedly claim that the note is the key to the whole case. He won't say why, he just knows it (He also won't say where he got the note, but he will say he got the gem off of Alexander). Just after giving the PCs these two items, the warden approaches and tells them that unless they can prove it wasn't Ricardo, he'll take the entertainer out to be executed.

Reversal of Fortune

At this point, the PCs should present as much evidence as they could find about Ricardo. At least three of them are necessary in order for the warden to delay the execution (A full list is provided at the end of the tale). If the PCs cannot produce enough evidence, then Gerard will speak up and reveal Ricardo's secret, that he isn't able to cast the spell.

By whichever method, the warden will decide to delay the execution for another day. Examining the note will reveal the following message to the PCs: “The plan worked perfectly. I was able to mutilate the bodies and that idiot Ricardo claims all responsibility for the mole when I was the one who summoned it. This day couldn't possibly get any better. -Alexander” Both above and below the message however, are arrays of unintelligible symbols and runes. However, if any of the PCs is an illusionist, they will recognize that the message is an Illusionary Script, and that the unintelligible markings are part of another Script (the Suggestion of these scripts is why Ricardo believed he obtained the note from Gerard). If the message is taken to the warden, he will read a different Script, one that gives a highly detailed account of the plan as a letter written from Gerard to Ricardo.

The warden will then schedule Gerard to be executed. If the PCs present six pieces of evidence that incriminate or suggest that Alexander was the culprit, he'll bring Alexander in (again, a list of evidence is at the end of this tale, and refer to the “Just Desserts” section if the PCs already have enough evidence; if the warden is not shown the note, he will instead ask the PCs to find evidence incriminating someone else). Also, if at any time a PC is holding the red gem and says Alexander's name, he or she is taken to the splintered demi-plane, which contains a great deal of Alexander's personal effects. The PC can return to the Material Plane by simply holding the gem and saying “Alexander.”

If the PCs do not have enough evidence, they will have time to re-investigate one of the three areas (the tavern and alley, the wagon at the jail, and Alexander's shop). The first two locations remain unchanged, but Alexander will not answer any further questions about the incident, and will vehemently deny every accusation the PCs make. However, if he is shown the gem, the PCs will notice a momentary change in his demeanor, suggesting that he knows about the gem, though he will quickly resume his stoic appearance and deny that he knows anything about it (unless, of course, one of the PCs is transported to the demi-plane within his presence. At that point, he'll activate his Invisibility Ring and make his escape out the window. He will then summon creatures to send at the PCs until he no longer has any such spells memorized, and will return to the shop only after the PCs have left).

Just Desserts

Once again, the PCs are asked to present their evidence upon returning to the prison. If they are unable to produce six pieces of evidence, Gerard will be led out to be executed (whether he actually dies or not is up to the DM, as it is likely he has an arcane means of escape ready), and the PCs will get no reward for their efforts. Of course, they are free to hunt down Alexander and mete out justice of their own, if they so desire. If they are able to gather enough evidence, then the warden will be convinced and will make preparations to apprehend Alexander. For every extra piece of evidence that the PCs present, increase their reward money by 500-1000g. How Alexander is taken is also up to the DM. If the players are looking for a battle, then the warden can ask them to aid him and the city watch in apprehending Alexander, who will definitely not come quietly. If they instead prefer a more roleplayed finish, the warden will go and successfully apprehend him, and the DM can then give the players a trial or similar scene. Gerard will reward the PCs with appropriate magical items from his shop, as well as with a monetary reward. Also, if the PCs were able to keep Ricardo's secret for the entire tale, he will give them two rings, one that gives a +5 bonus to Sleight of Hand checks, and the other gives a +5 bonus to Bluff checks.


 


Ingredient Summary:
Fiendish Mole – Summoned by Alexander to frame Ricardo
Missing Ghost – Provides valuable evidence about the red gem, and his location is heavily incriminating to Alexander.
Splintering Plane – Alexander's personal demi-plane that splintered when he made a mistake. Negative energy escaped from it and killed some merchants, starting the whole scenario.
Flayed Corpses – Supposedly the work of the fiendish mole; used to incriminate Ricardo.
Subtle Note – Note written by Alexander, who allowed it to be stolen by Ricardo (though he didn't expect the gem to be stolen as well); incriminates Gerard.
Sympathy – The PCs' sympathy is tested throughout the tale, through how they deal with the crowd at the inn, to whether or not they give the ring to the waitress (who also earns sympathy from the patrons), to whether or not they reveal Ricardo's secret.
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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The Iron Word: Agwolf Advances to the Final Round.

ST's VerdictInitial Thoughts on Dinkleberg's "Sympathy from the Devil"
PROS: The adventure runs around a good mystery thriller story. There are plenty of suspects and many hints that the PCs can encounter along the way to lead them on the right track. There is even a good hook to get the players into the story.
CONS: Some more suspects to throw the PCs into different tracks would also help or at least some more red herrings, like some supernatural sources, would also be good. ???What happens if one of the PCs can detect evil and uses it? Wouldn't the adventure be even shorter when they counter Cynthia's observations.
USE of INGREDIENTS: Overall Grade [B+]
Fiendish Mole [A] Good use of the words to make this something different. The main enemy always gives you points.
Missing Ghost (B) The first real clue to the PCs that something extraordinary is going on here.
Splintering Plane [C] Good explanation but with more details it could be even better.
Flayed Corpses [B+] One of the main clues in this adventure/story.
Subtle Note [C] The clues are subtle notes on the killer, but I think the tie in to the ingredient could be stronger.
Sympathy (B) The mean motivation for the PCs opponent.

Initial Thoughts on AGWolf's "But Did I Cast the Spell that Killed Them?"
PROS: Another detective mystery, in which the PCs have to gather and convict the proper person. AgWolf does a great job of setting everything up, explaining the background for the DM and itemizing all the clues that can free the innocent and convict the proper murderer. Also the adventure is very detailed and complete with things that the PCs should encounter.
CONS: Okay, under the rules, as AgWolf noted, the entry was outside of the rules. Besides that, there is one thing that I would like to see changed, the addition of a couple of more suspects that are eliminated as clues are uncovered. Also is there enough physical evidence or is most of is circumstantial? Hey, why did Alexander plant a note that the PCs can read and would incriminate him?
USE of INGREDIENTS [Overall A-]
Fiendish Mole [A] The principle method of convicting Ricardo that it was his fault.
Missing Ghost [A] One of the clues that convicts Alexander
Splintering Plane [A] The cause of the mishap along with another clue indicating Alexander.
Flayed Corpses (B+) Flayed or chewed by Fiendish Mole?
Subtle Note (B) See above: why would Alexander leave something to incriminate himself?
Sympathy [C+] Yes, the PCs need to show some sympathy but this is the hardest to see in the adventure.

Which adventure would I run as a DM? Again both would be fun to run. Mysteries are great. But AgWolf's adventure is more complete and detailed and would be easier to run.

Final Vote: AgWolf's "But Did I Cast the Spell that Killed Them?"


Admin Securis's Verdict Dinkleberg's Entry: SYMPATHY FROM THE DEVIL

I'm saddened that Dink decided to withdraw. I thought the 'story' was an excellent setting and series of events. I immediately suspected the elf. Lord Dûr’óre as the baddy, this element wasn't even on my radar. I liked the mystery aspect of the adventure and felt that the writer's elements supported the general atmosphere. As an adventure, something is missing. I think to plot and setting are thought out well but what I don't see is a path for the PCs to go down and get lost. If it's a mystery then where are the explanations on the false trails? What happens if they decide to hang Elgar for the crimes? Contingencies are what's missing. Admittedly, I'm no sleuth so as a player I'd be lost in this game. My character would be tripping over his/her owner and messing up Dink's careful plans for a clean resolution.

AGWolf's Entry:But I Did Cast the Spell that Killed Them.

Here we have a complex and supremely detailed 'who done it'. There are contingencies for the players to explore involving a little bit of fast footwork for DMs interested in taking on the adventure, clues for the PCs to notice or stupidly bypass, there are time limits to cause 'make haste, cause waste' situations. I really enjoyed reading this adventure. Excellent in the plot department. I also appreciated the overflow of gather information mechanics. This makes the adventure appealing to those that are DC challenged. I think that most DMs would find this adventure easy to run. Most players would enjoy it. Again, I'm no sleuth so my character would have likely ended up in jail beside Ricardo and Gerard, hoping for mutton steaks and cold beer as a last meal.

The Ingredients

Due to Dinkleberg's withdrawal, I'm going to cop out on the ingredient analysis in specifics and give an overview. I think that Dink uses the ingredients well but that they come to us through a filter of some sort. I do not think his heart was in it. AGWolf provides exacting complex reasons for his use of the ingredients.

The Judgment

AGWolf is the winner of this battle.[/B]


Colatine's VerdictI echo others sentiments about Dink withdrawing. I am not going to guess at the reasons. It's interesting that both players have similar themes and I think the Dink's use of ingredients are superior in some instances (Fiendish Mole comes to mind). I think with a bit more time and thought, Dink could have had a wonderful multidimensional adventure.

However, Agwolf's entries, both in this and the previous round, have been outstanding; I really enjoyed how creative he is and also his use of ingredients (other than the fiendish mole) and consider his two entries so far among the top three of the tournament. Agwolf advances to the final round on his own merit.
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