Monday, April 1, 2013

Changing the Tide: Welcome to Farshore and Beyond

Welcome to Farshore

In the Savage Tide Adventures Path (STAP), the final episode of the 4th adventure (Here There Be Monsters) segues directly into the opening of the 5th adventure (Tides of Dread). The delvers, having just crossed a significant portion of the Isle of Dread, arrive at the northern colony of Farshore just in time to rescue it from pirates. Cue dramatic music!

My problem with this presentation is that it's a huge pain for me. I've got one session left before our group returns to its normal gaming experience, which in this case is going to be Dungeonworld. There's already the final tedious fight from Fogmire to complete, and I ended on that cliffhanger so I'm pretty much committed to the grindfest versus the nigh-invulnerable golem. This is probably something I should have thought of ahead of time and planned differently. The opening of Tides of Dread is a neat set piece, with the delvers running around town saving people from pirates and probably needing to split up to save everyone in time. I don't really want to cut it, but I don't want to end on a cliffhanger that may never get resolved, nor do I want to start it and then play Dungeonworld for a couple of months and come back to Savage Tide.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to resolve this: postpone the attack. Let the delvers arrive safely in town, and discover the rampant inflation. Having to put up with the inflation for a day or two should make the impact of the town's gratitude for saving them from the pirates more meaningful. It should also give me time to set up some of the role-playing bits and politics without the pressure of recovering from the pirate attack.

And Beyond

STAP covers 12 adventures, but I'm only running about half of them. Some just came off as boring or implausible to me on the read-through, so I'm cutting them. For sure, I've already skipped the first adventure, and I don't intend to run Lightless Depths, which is a weird railroad trip that's hard to explain and not interesting. I'll probably keep City of Broken Idols, which is an expansion of the old Taboo Island from X1: Isle of Dread, though I'll remove a lot of the plot elements that I'm using inconsistently at best (ie, all the references to the demonic pearl factory which ties into the overall "let's kill Demogorgon" storyline that I've been ignoring). The Snakes of Shuttlecove, or whatever the next adventure after that is, bores me to tears, so I'm definitely skipping that.

In summary, my current plans are to run the main plot of Tides of Dread, since it's an interesting sand-boxy sort of story. The delvers have a limited amount of time to explore the Isle of Dread, recruit allies, loot Taboo Island, fortify Farshore, and do other heroic stuff before a pirate fleet comes to raze the colony. Depending on how well the delvers do at looting and fortifying, they may decide to flee back to civilization or defeat the pirate fleet. Either way, we'll pretty much be done with the Isle of Dread (and most of STAP), unless the delvers want to stick around some more and explore more stuff.

At some point, though, they'll be done with the Isle and go back to civilization, turn all their loot into magic items, and become more powerful than I can imagine. Killing orcs and ogres will stop being a challenge at that point, but it seems cruel to not let them play around with their Puissant Fine Balanced Elven Welsh Longbows of Armor-Breaking Accuracy and whatnot. So while I will happily offer to retire the characters at that point, when they refuse, I have a plan.

After Serpents of Shuttlecove, the next STAP adventure Into the Maw. As written, it's a sailing trip into the Abyss and then a prison-break from a demonic prison. It sounds rather insane, and I don't think it's going to work for my group: first, all the delvers are "good" that they won't cut deals with demons, and second, Sister Joan the Saint will have Enhanced Smite by then, and 3d bu damage in a 16 yard radius means that you don't have to cut deals with demons because the demons are all burnt to ash. Reflecting on this reality, I was going to just toss the adventure, but then I had a good idea. Instead of making it a demonic prison in the Abyss, make it an unseelie faerie prison in Faerieland. It should convert over pretty easily, since the difference between "scary scaly demon" and "creepy unseelie nightmare" isn't really that much in concept. But there's nothing objectively evil about bargaining with the fae, even if its often unwise.

So adapting Into the Maw should work as a high level adventure, and high powered unseelie fae make perfectly adequate enemies against 400 point delvers and don't strain credibility at all. The fact that the place is a prison means I can even use some of the demons, since they would be escaped prisoners either way.

The last 3 adventures in STAP are a big war against Demogorgon. I'm not sure how I feel about them, and I'm not sure that even high point delvers are really ready to kill gods. But I can worry about all that next year.

1 comment:

  1. Your demon-fae pivot is a great way to make lemonade. That sounds great to me.