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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 06:55 AM
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Demonic Invasion plot

Morning all!

I'm running a game at a weekend meet-up. We've got gaming from 4pm Friday to midnight Sunday, with breaks for food, drink, sleep and a brewery tour.

I've offered the group a choice of plots, and here's the one they've gone for. Now I need to flesh it out. Any brainstorming/ideas/etc. will be gratefully received!

(Note that the level is flexible: I can run this anywhere from 6 to 12, if necessary).

Plot
Rifts (Demonic invasion; level 9)
This morning, you took your places at the head of your platoons. The armies of Siriand and Marrin lined up; the priests and wizards prepared the men for battle; and with a roar and a crash the armies charged home. You were injured in the melee, but fortunately for you your side was victorious. You awaken in the healers' tent, your wounds bandaged, to find something slaughtering the other wounded soliders. Though the battle is won, the war is not - yet something worse than war is coming.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 03:01 PM
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Start off things going terribly;

Towns destroyed, holding defence, things being lost, slaughter everywhere, etcetera, etcetera.
In the defensive actions, players get more people for whoever they save/protect at the "main base"
Then at some defensive main base (fort, mages tower, etcetera) the party discovers a MacGuffin that will close the demon rifts.

Problem 1) Fighting to the Demon Rifts is going to be brutal, and your allies think it a hopeless cause.
A) Diplomacy: If you're sufficiently rousing/convincing, you can get people to come with you.
B) Go it alone: Fight through demon hordes as a party
C) Sneaky: Try to sneak
D) Give up, go live on your own ---> This leads to a neutralish-baddish ending
E) Hold defence and try to carve out life. ---> This leads to a bad ending

A-C are likely. If A, it's a war-trudge with allies holding off enemies as you get to the rift.
B) Similar, less enemies
C) Similar, more sneaking/running.

Problem 2) At the rift, your wizard/power figure/knowledgeable old guy reveals your MacGuffin won't work unless you find a special place inside the rift.

A) Your army flagrantly won't go inside the rift, if you have it. Sneaking becomes harder. Fights are harder, and resources are low. Sleeping outside the rift is suicide. If they try a time stop rest (extended Rope Trick is the best guess), let them; but if they win, they find their stronghold over-run with demons.

They either retreat or go in. See options D/E in first problem for retreat.

So they go into the Rift and battle their way through a flaming hostile demon environment. They find the portal, and a demon guarding it. Make it a demon famous for lying/deceit, if you can figure that out. Write his name into the lore of the world. "Thorsten Hoss, the prince of lies." The demon berates them, then stands aside to let them throw it into the Special place.

This indicates problem 3)
This doesn't work unless they also sacrifice someone with a pure heart, and kill Thorsten Hoss, the prince of lies.

They have to leave a party member behind, and chase down and kill Thorsten.

The party member that agrees to be sacrificed comesback as a pre-generated demon that has reason to be opposed to this invasion of the prime material plane, orchestrated by Thorsten. Does the party trust the demon and ally with demon against demon?

If yes, then they'll have a powerful ally. (If level 9, CR 8-10)
If no, they still have a chance at winning. The player gets readded as a weakened tortured soul trapped on this plane for some reason. Flesh out. (If level 9, level 6-8)

They eventually do sweet-ass-boss-battle with Thorsten Hoss after tracking him across hell itself. You can use the demon ally to start a "war across hell" theme where various demons battle around them.

They beat Thorsten, and the rift closes. Except now they can't get out.

They have to trust their demon ally to cast magic on them and port them out of the plane, which leads to Optional problem 4:

The demon doesn't teleport them to the prime material plane, the demon teleports them to the Celestial plane.

Which would be no big deal, except the Celestials watching this think that players are demon tainted, and want to kill them.
Some sort of trial goes on of the players actions. RP thing, not diplomacy thing; put a lot of emphasis on how cool people sound, not how strong they defend themselves. If players did "evilish" things, definitely bring them up. If all they did was reluctantly work with the demon, most or all should go free.
players that win at the trial get to go free
Players that lose at the trial get imprisoned in the celestial realm for a thousand years.

Which leads to Optional Problem 5:
The demons on the prime material plane were trapped there, and now have nothing to lose.
A profoundly convincing/holy party can get celestials to help.
Then you get to do closure and civilization rebuilding.


This campaign should not have a Paladin in it.
Some of the demon battles should be glossed over/hit and runs to save time.
Use a wide variety of demons. Make some up. Borrow from every PC game you can think of; Diablo 1-3, other games, etcetera.
Problem 3 can be actual closure.
Problem 4 can be actual closure.
Problem 5 can be actual closure.
If you are generating the characters, make sure you give them things well suited to demon fighting; holy weapons, fire resistance, etcetera.
If you are generating the characters, try for consistent power level.
If you are generating the characters, I'd give them a little more magic than typical, just for the demonwar theme.

Also, I just wrote this, and I think this is brilliant.

Last edited by CE2JRH; Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:03 PM.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 03:11 PM
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I'd give you RPXP but I'm all out for now, so here's a promise.

That's a truly excellent name for a villain. I'm so using it

Various logistical things that need working out:
  • Fitting it all in one weekend
  • Coming up with some backstory for the MacGuffin that makes it Not The One Ring
  • Coming up with some demon encounters that we can gloss over (don't want to run a dozen battles, but don't want to say "after a long week's march into the Blasted Lands, you arrive at the Rift. You've used 75% of your spells and HP.")
  • Convincing myself that I'm a good enough DM to pull this off!

As for the earlier "defence" stage of it, there's a really good wargaming section in one of the published modules I have, so I can use those ideas. Also Kingmaker for the army ideas.

This sounds sweeeet.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 06:57 PM
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You don't know your players very well, do you? It's a bunch of randoms more or less?

Recall that you can cut off at exactly the point they deliver the MacGuffin. They can go down in a blaze or Riddock-like-horror where thousands of demons start to slaughter them in rage at being trapped on their plane again. If you play it right it feels like the most heroic win ever.

That'll help the time thing.

Yeah, backstory for the MacGuffin is going to require you to write and think for a while.
For battles:

1) One at the camp
2) 1-2 retreating to the stronghold, +1 defending a small village perhaps, + 1-3 glossed over.
The glossed over ones:
A) You hear fighting at the edge of your military column. You sprint over, getting there two rounds later. You see the ripped shreds of some soldiers and a single demon 120 feet away, moving away. It has LAUGHTER IN ITS EYES MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
B) As above, but the soldiers win before you get there.
C) It's very few demons and a quick victory. The demons laugh as they die, knowing that they'll swiftly be returned to the battle through the rift. They care not of their losses.

Then;
1 significant battle at the stronghold

Then;
Moving to the demon portal
Lots of small, quick, wearing down battles; only 1 bigger one, probably at the end of the portal.

Depending on your group and how rules competent they are; I know my RL group, if I tell them I need to do something for a reason, they'll
1) Keep initiative
2) Be willing to do 1 minute timed turns
Especially for the "you obviously win this one battles."

Then big battle at portal, more wearing down in demon plane, then big battle at MacGuffin site.

Damn dude, I want to write and run this so much right now.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CE2JRH View Post
Also, I just wrote this, and I think this is brilliant.
This made me laugh. I would make fun of how cocky he sounds, except he's absolutely right. It is brilliant.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CE2JRH View Post
You don't know your players very well, do you? It's a bunch of randoms more or less?

<snip>

Depending on your group and how rules competent they are; I know my RL group, if I tell them I need to do something for a reason, they'll
1) Keep initiative
2) Be willing to do 1 minute timed turns
Especially for the "you obviously win this one battles."
They're good people; I've known them for 10 years, but we all live (at least) 2 hours apart so don't get together more than once a year. We mostly game via a chat system. Combat has always been slow: some of the players seem to need five minutes to look up "I shoot an arrow at it".

Also, I'm not a very experienced tabletop player/GM (due to the restrictions above).

Quote:
Then big battle at portal, more wearing down in demon plane, then big battle at MacGuffin site.

Damn dude, I want to write and run this so much right now.
Seriously? Then do it. Take the idea, run with it, and post an adventure summary on DnDOG. Have fun!
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
They're good people; I've known them for 10 years, but we all live (at least) 2 hours apart so don't get together more than once a year. We mostly game via a chat system. Combat has always been slow: some of the players seem to need five minutes to look up "I shoot an arrow at it".
Hmmm...that's rough. If they're good people, can you say "I'll need the minor combats to be fast, please be reasonable?" or encourage people who are slower with their turn to take 1 option characters (TWF melee rogues; flank and roll the dice, scouts/rangers; "I shoot every turn until they die") sort of characters?

Lack of experience can be replaced by experience ********ting/public-speaking I've found, or heavy prepping.

This is so getting written up when I have time as an adventure.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 04:15 AM
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I warn you, if this appears in the Westmarches we may just be able to metagame it ;-)

I'm going to be on a 4-hour flight this evening; that leaves me 3 hours of typing notes etc. I'll see what I can get done.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 07:07 PM
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There is a demon-battleground in the Westmarches game, but it's not anywhere near town.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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Rifts (Demonic invasion; level 9)
This morning, you took your places at the head of your platoons. The armies of Siriand and Marrin lined up; the priests and wizards prepared the men for battle; and with a roar and a crash the armies charged home. You were injured in the melee, but fortunately for you your side (Marrin) was victorious. You awaken in the healers' tent, your wounds bandaged, to find something slaughtering the other wounded soliders. Though the battle is won, the war is not - yet something worse than war is coming.

This adventure is available for free use to anyone that wants it for any reason, though giving a shout out to CE2JRH of DNDOG for the original write up and HenryLockwood of DNDOG for the concept would be kinda nice.

Written for 3-8 adventurers from level 7-10
You will need this SRD entry extensively. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/demon.htm
Some items are from the Magic Item compendium
Some spells are from the spell compendium.

Social note: This society is profoundly friendly to necromancers, and views them as holy priests of the dead, taking care of them, even if this involves animating them. Analysis of this social custom is impossible to understand (though a hint of it comes later). Necromancy is not intrinsically evil, and any spell tagged [necromancy [evil]] should be considered as neutral for the purpose of clerical alignment spell selection.

For faster, time sensitive games:
Fewer encounters, more encounters glossed over (instructions included).
No optional scenes (The Siriand Rear Guard, Justice in the Celestial Realms, Desperate Demons)
No Betrayer
Less treasure in army tent

For slower games where this “1 shot” can take 2 or 3 sessions:
Use optional scenes
Use Betrayer
If Betrayer stays in party after killing Hintari, Betrayer can reveal by destroying vial of tears.
Need to insert a dungeon to hunt down vial of tears then.
Use full army tent treasure list
The afterwards scene (Desperate Demons) can lead into a entire campaign.

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Last edited by CE2JRH; Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:22 AM.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 11:51 AM
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Would you mind if I use this idea in the backstory of a game that I am planning on running?
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Not at all! Just do your best to have fun.

(That goes for everyone, by the way: I have no objection to you using this idea.)
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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And the material I'm posting is openly usable to anyone, feedback welcome.

I'll have a bit more up this afternoon.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 07:22 PM
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Added MacGuffin and backstory, plus a special "betrayer" character.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 03:21 AM
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