It's my turn in the revolving-DM door these upcoming weeks and I'm torn on just how to proceed.
I know this much: My players are going to be made to choose between helping defend the sovereignty of nomadic barbarians (CG) or forcing a puppet state of order on the land with a sect of monks (LG).I've got a few ideas on how to lead them to proceed but I'm looking for more. The geographic area we're talking about is a giant desert hedged in by mountains on one third, jungle another third and it opens up to plains (where it soon changes into the unified countries) and not based in any specific game world. Playing Pathfinder (D&D 3.5 for dummies, NOT my choice) and my characters are average level 8 (7+7+8+9+9). A half-orc dragon disciple (which, btw, is a super spellcasting tank and beast), a halfling bard, a shadow wizard, a human paladin, and halfling rogue comprise the group.
Should I fit a dungeon in with an item that both of the above parties want to make domesticating the desert easier perhaps? Is this already going to be too much? I've only started with this group about two months ago and it seems like 2-3 6+ hour sessions is the standard and I don't want things to run over too long.
For simplicity and to keep from reposting, as I further develop the campaign I will update what constitutes it here.
THE UNREST IN SYRENTEH
In the desert region of Syrenteh, nomadic barbarian tribes have lived for centuries in relative peace with one another. They all maintain good trade relations, aside from the ocassional ambitious tribal leader squabbling things up, and have continued in relatively the same way for centuries. Recently, the region has come under the control of a Drow named D'thul. Under his rule the tribes are living with more peace and prosperity than anyone can remember. Outside of the region in the more temperate climate a strong and unified group of nations has arisen, calling themselves the Alliance. Rankir, an exemplary soldier and diplomatic monk representing the Alliance, has spent the past year attempting to gain D'thul's trust and incorporate Syrenteh into the Alliance. There has been no progress. Things are coming to a head. The whole region seethes from the heat and the discomfort of the environment, as if you're in warm water that's about to boil.
The party is approached by either a Monk or Hunter on their way to Syrenteh after Boris declares that he knows where it is (AFTER Poonjob, Level 4 Goblin Cleric/Comic Relief, runs into the party on the road, looting the body of someone who attempted to steal his Flavor-Flave Gold Coin Holy Symbol), flipping a coin to decide which one they run into. They give an impassioned plea for the party to accompany them to the monastery/camp and hear their leader's pitch. At night they are contacted by the other faction and visit to hear what they have to say. Suggestions are made and so we begin.
After stages one, two and three, the heroes are approached by either Rankir or D'thul to aid in a major skirmish building in the center of the desert. As soon as the battle begins, it is briefly interrupted by the emergence of the Temple of the Scarab of Sand. The party's faction makes them a clear path to the temple's door where they jump inside, where the door slowly closes behind them. As the sunlight shut off by the door a scroll skitters and slides into the room, rolling to a stop in front of the party. It is a Scroll of Teleportation.
"You rest the rest of the weary adventurer, your bones aching and your muscles worn. At first your sleep is a soundful one, but soon your dreams become...gritty. Like a film grade your vision obscures, sand whipping from seemingly everywhere. White light penetrates the sand, slowly uncovering your field of vision. The sun is high over head and it is uncomfortably warm. You have no shoes, but the cool sand your feet are buried in is comforting. Suddenly a building erupts from the earth in front of you, craggedly stretching towards the hot sun. A scarab pulses from the center door of it, gaining intensity and cycling faster and faster until a deafening roar is heard and the whole desert and mountain range before you crack open, crumble, and there is nothing but black. You wake up, open your eyes, and in the nooks and crannies of your eye sockets you pull sand that you've never seen before."
Siding with the Barbarians
1. Guerilla hit and run Monk encampments (A1)
2. Forge orders (A2)
3. Disrupt supply lines, protected by monks and Hound Archons (A1+A3)
4. Acquire the Scarab of Sand from the Temple of the Sand Scarab (AB1)
5. Lead Dinosaur Stampede on Main Camp through Bullette field and kill head monk Rankir. (A1, A4, B2)
6. Swinging/climbing across endless pit in Monastery dungeon (A5) to reach Monk's Young Gold Dragon for teh final battlez (A6)
"As you approach the D'thul's encampment there seems to be some light shimmer effect that hides it in a heat wave. Stabled dinosaurs of various sizes and types sit under large makeshift tents near the outskirts of the town, and in the center tent the tribe proper gathers to avoid the heat. It is noticeably cooler in the shade, perhaps even more so than it ought to."
"The desert is much cooler than you would think after the sun has gone down and you are slightly chilled by the fierce winds that dominate the region under nightfall. You near the top of a sand dune when the encampment comes into view, softly lit by twelve torches spread sparingly around the perimeter. A lone monk walks in a loop around the assembled five or six tents."
Monk's Combat Block (lv 6)
HP 40 Speed 50ft Reach 5ft
AC 16 (16 Touch, 10 FF), CMD 19, CMD +7, Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +7, Init +2
Melee +8/+8/+3, 1d8+3, Crit x2, Magical
Stunning Fist Stun Fort DC 15 (No Actions, -2 AC, no Dex to AC) 5/Day, 1 per Round
Skills: Acrobatics +10, Climb +10, Perception +8, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +10
Orders? We don't need no steenking orders!
If they're smart, the party will take D'thul's suggestion to forge orders from Rankir to ensure that they can properly disrupt the supply line and rout any reinforcements. Materials are provided by D'thul, along with an order of Rankir's (soaked in blood) which gives a +6 to the party's linguistic's check. The Alliance gets a +8 bonus to their Linguistics check to determine authenticity. If they do know that it is a fake, there will be 4 Hound Archons when the party goes to ambush the supply caravans. If they don't, there will be only one.
LG Medium Outsider (archon, extraplanar, good, lawful)
Init +4; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Detect Evil, Scent; Perception +10, Speed 40ft
Aura of Menace (Will DC 16 or -2 to Attacks, AC and Saves for 24 hours or until hit the archon), Magic Circle Against Evil
AC 19 (10 Touch 10, 19 FF) (+9 natural; +2 deflection vs. evil)
HP 39, Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +5; +4 vs. poison, +2 resistance vs. evil, CMB +8; CMD 18
Damage Resistance 10/evil; Immune Electricity, Petrification; Spell Resistance 15
Melee Bite +8 (1d8+3), Slam +8 (1d4+1) or Masterwork Greatsword +9/+4 (2d6+3), Bite +3 (1d8+2)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
Constant—Detect Evil, Magic Circle Against Evil
At Will—Aid, Continual Flame, Greater Teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), Message
Statistics: Str 15, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12; Base Atk +6;
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack
Skills Acrobatics +9, Intimidate +10, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +13, Survival +14; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth, +4 Survival
Languages Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; truespeech
SQ Change Shape (beast shape II)
"The desert peters out as grasses emerge from the ground, eventually becoming a large plain. The stampede thunders on, the sound of so many massive hooves racking and jostling your own steed as you approach the small town built around the monastery. When the buildings of the shops and homes come into view, the first wave is obscured in a pop up of sand and earth."
N Huge magical beast, Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft, Scent, Tremorsense 60 ft; Perception +11
AC 22 (10 Touch, 20 FF), Speed 40 ft, Burrow 20 ft
HP 84, Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +5; CMB +16; CMD 28 (32 vs. trip)
Melee Bite +13 (2d8+9/19–20) and 2 Claws +12 (2d6+6)
Special Attacks: Leap, Savage Bite
Statistics Str 23, Dex 15, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6; Base Atk +8
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +9 (+17 jumping), Perception +11; Racial Modifiers +4 on Acrobatics checks made to jump
Leap (Ex) A bulette can perform a special kind of pounce attack by jumping into combat. When a bulette charges, it can make a DC 20 Acrobatics check to jump into the air and land next to its enemies. If it makes the Acrobatics check, it can follow up with four claw attacks against foes in reach, but cannot make a bite attack.
Savage Bite (Ex) A bulette's bite is particularly dangerous. It applies 1-1/2 times its Strength modifier to damage inflicted with its bite attack, and threatens a critical hit on a 19–20.
Rankir Combat Block
HP 90, Speed 60ft, Reach 5ft, Cold/Fire/Elec Resistance 5
AC 31 (27 Touch, 14 FF), CMD 31, CMB +12, Fort +10, Ref +16, Will +12, Init +9
Melee +19/+19/+14/+14, 1d10+3, Crit 19-20/x2, Magical
Stunning Fist (Stun, Fatigue or Sicken 1 Minute) Fort DC 20 (No Actions, -2 to AC, no Dex to AC) 10/Day, 1 per Round
Skills: Bluff +1, Acrobatics +19 (+29 Jumps), Climb +12, Diplomacy +11, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Stealth +21
"Impossibly thin. That is the first thought that comes to your mind as the paper-waife of a tiefling named Rankir runs towards you. He is six foot tall and as far as you can tell, all bones. Perhaps its' his demonic ancestry - very knubby horns sprout from near his temples and his nails are slightly to sharp. There are wafts of brimstone that come to your senses as he leaps towards you, tail whipping behind him menacingly, the pinnacle of economy in motion in a combat artist."
Across the Bottomless Pit
"As you reach the bottom of the monastery's staircase, the light blooms outward, lowering in its' intensity slightly. You walk out onto a platform two meters wide and ten meters across, and far beyond the range of anyone's vision is a lone torch, a glint in the darkness. Hanging from the ceilings are ropes, indicating that this was possibly a training area for the monks. Along the earthen sides are jutting sandstone, offering hand holds"
(Climb DC 16), or players can attempt to swing across (Acrobatics DC 18), requiring five checks each. If a player should fall, an empowered slow effect is in place in the top of the pit, offering his teammates 1d10 rounds (minimum 3) to catch them. Once on the other side, they will find rusting gold scales along the ground eventually leading into Shoryea'ath's lair. Failing a Climb or Acrobatics check by 5 or more means falling. The room is just seventy-five feet long, thirty across.
"On the other side of the chamber you find golden scales littering the ground in various periods of decay. They range in size from that of a gold coin to something that looks like it would work into the sleeve of your armor. After proceeding down a corridor for maybe thirty feet. At the end of it the chamber opens up and reaches beyond anyone's ability to see. It is ten leagues across and as far wide (100ft) and as the party enters into the room, a creature shimmers into view."
Shoryea'ath the Gold Dragon
LG Large dragon (fire)
Init +1; Senses Darkvision 60ft, Perception +22
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with Bite)
Speed 60ft, Fly 200ft (poor), Swim 60ft
AC 23 (10 Touch, 22 FF) (+1 Dex, +13 natural, –1 size)
HP 126, Fort +12, Ref +9, Will +13, CMB +20, CMD +31 (35 vs trip)
Immune Fire, Paralysis, Sleep; Vulnerable to Cold (x1.5 Damage)
Melee Bite +18 (2d6+10), 2 Claws +18 (1d8+7/19–20), 2 Wings +16 (1d6+3), Tail +16 (1d8+10)
Special Attacks Breath Weapon (80-ft. cone, Reflex DC 20, 6d10 fire), Weakening Breath (60ft Cone, Fort DC 20, -3 Str, -1 Str on Save)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th)
At Will—Detect Evil
Spells Known (CL 1st)
1st (4/day)—mage armor, shield
0th (at will)—detect magic, light, mending, stabilize
Statistics: Str 25, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 16, Base Atk +12
Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (claw), Iron Will, Multiattack, Power Attack, Vital Strike
Skills Diplomacy +18, Fly +10, Heal +18, Knowledge (local, religion) +18, Perception +22, Sense Motive +22, Spellcraft +18, Swim +30
Languages Common, Draconic, Elven, Halfling
SQ Change Shape (Polymorph animal/humanoid 3/day), Detect Gems, Fast Flight
The Temple of the Sand Scarab
"THE SCARAB OF SAND is an artifact as old as the land upon which it sits. No scholar or person of knowledge has ever come forward with a positive conclusion as to how it came to be. Some say it is a direct piece of the very center of the terrestrial realm, some that it is a piece of living planet, others that it is only a myth. The truth is beyond all, but its' location is not. On the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year of every seventh century the temple where it sits rises from the sands. Spirals seem like eruptions that connect the roof of the structure to its' base and there are virtually no straight edges to speak of. It is deep within the heart of this temple that the Scarab sits. As the battle around you rages on, the monks.barbarians form a pathway to the temple for you to follow. As the last member of your party enters the structure, the door slides down behind you with a scroll skittering across the ground to land at your feet."
Siding with the Monks
1. Destroy camps in desert area (B1)
2. Destroy desert resources (B1)
3. Acquire the Scarab of Sand from the Temple of the Sand Scarab (AB1)
4. Disrupt dinosaur cattling with additional jungle foes - Shambling Mounds (B2)
5. Gladiator match with D'thul for leadership of tribes; if failed, barbarians will join with Anky and D'thul in battle royale. (B3, B1)
6. FINAL BATTLE with Adult Brass Dragon (B5) after a harrowing ascent up a butte in the desert - pterodactyl riding barbarians attacking on the way up. (B4)
"The dinosaurs are what you notice first, stabled along the side of the camp. Oddly enough, they occupy the only part of the camp lit by torchlight. No one stands watch over the assembled dozen or so tents, but loud snoring can be heard from all but the center structure." (Perception DC 20 finds D'Thul, who will take a few whacks then jump on Anky and retreat.
"Set twenty feet down in a huge dune depression in the sand, the oases is perhaps forty feet across, with palm trees and shrubs up against the shore.
Barbarian Combat Block (Raging) (lv6)
HP 60, Speed 40ft, Reach 5ft, Darkvision 60ft, Scent
AC 17 (13 Touch, No FF), CMD 22, CMB +10, Fort +9, Ref +4, Will +4, Init +2
Melee +10/+5 Greatsword, 2d6+6, 19-20/x2 Crit
"The vegetation in these woods is markedly different from any you've become familiar with. The leaves are as broad as your face or chest, and seemingly everything is covered in long vines, hanging from the trees and scattering the floor of the forest. On one side of the sparser area near the cliff's edge is a picket line filled with crude spears and eager barbarians. Adjacent to that is a river swiftly flowing down into a waterfall that falls several stories down the side of the cliff face."
HP 67, Speed 20ft (+Swim), Reach 10ft, Darkvision 60ft, Perception +11
AC 19 (9 Touch, 19 FF), CMD 22, CMB +12 (+16 Grapple), Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +5, Init +0
Immune to Electricity (con +1d4), mind-affects, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, stuns, Resist Fire 10
Melee +11/+11 Slam, 2d6+5 plus Grab, x2 Crit
HP 90, Speed 30ft, Reach 15ft, Space 15ft, Low-Light Vision, Scent, Perception +21
AC 21 (7 Touch, 21 FF), CMD 29 (33 vs Trip), CMB +20, Fort +15, Ref +8, Will +5
Melee: Gore +17 (2d10+12, 19-20/x2 Crit)
Special Attacks: Powerful Charge (Gore 4d10+16), Trample 1d8+12, Reflex DC 25) [Pathfinder pg 305]
Feats: Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical, Power Attack
"Sitting at the center of the combat ring is a well filled with vile poison (Fort DC 16 or -1d4 Strength), bubbling slowly as the barbarians clamor loudly before the match. The ring extends twenty feet on all sides in a circle fenced in by tree trunks grown unnaturally close together and covered in briars (1d4 piercing). Eight five by ten spectator each set thirty feet away from and above the well act as spectator platforms for the gladiator ring."
There are four Camouflaged Pit Traps (Perception DC 20 to find) that are 30ft deep doing 3d6 damage negated entirely by a Reflex DC 20
D'thul Combat Block (Raging)
HP 114, Speed 40ft, Reach 10ft, Spell Resistance 16, Damage Reduction 2/-
AC 22 (14 Touch, No FF), CMD 31, CMB +18, Fort +11, Ref +6, Will +7, Init +3
Melee +22/+17, 3d6+17 (+2d6+2 vs Lawful), Crit x3, Magical Ranged Touch +12, 1d6+1 Acid
Howl Will DC 25 or Shaken 1d4+1 Rounds
Anky's Combat Block (pg 83)
HP 75, Speed 30ft, Reach 15 ft, Init +0
AC 22 (8 Touch, 22 FF), CMD 27 (31 vs Trip), CMB +17, Fort +12, Ref +7, Will +4
Melee +14 Tail Slam, 3d6+12 plus Stun (Fort DC 23 or Dazed 1 Round)
"The paradox that looms before you does so at a height of somewhere near ten feet. His body is far thinner than one would think for such a large humanoid, but upon closer inspection you realize that the reason for this is that the huge barbarian in front of you is a drow. His hair is white, a short mohawk rising from his scalp, trailing into a small braid that swings against a necklace made from dinosaur claws that encircles his impossibly huge neck, which is on the verge of being disgusting considering that some of his veins are the size of your fingers. Slung across his back is a massive great axe (like Boris') that literally hums with power. Occasionally a shimmer of arcane energy pulses from the axe and all around his body. Aside from his axe and necklace he only wears a loincloth, what looks like a converted burlap sack. His mount is another matter entirely - it is easily twice his size and slightly resembles a tortoise in how the top of its' body is plated, but the gigantic tail ending in a natural club marks it as something else entirely."
Working our way straight up to Hell!
"Death Spiral Butte lives up to its' name, stretching towards the sun in a jagged and painful way. As you approach you notice a tunnel that has been collapsed and no other way of entering the structure aside from climbing up it's steep walls. The rough hewn stone has been worn down by the sandy winds into a twisted and mangled assemblage of rock that resembles coral."
Death Spiral Butte is where the Barbarians are gathering (if they failed the gladiator match) and the heroes must go. As they arrive a tunnel in the base collapses, and their only choice is to climb the outside of it, where they are assailed by the tribal hunters riding Pteradons. The Climb DC is 15, requiring five checks to reach the top with one additional check for every round the characters are fighting. While climbing they are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC. If it looks as if things are going to go too poorly for the party, the Sand Scarab will activate and once one of the characters has polymorphed into a Behir they will have no problem scaling the butte. Should a character fall, it activates and they are caught before plumetting to their death. The top of the butte is 150 feet above the desert, and 100 feet in length and width, making a rough circle.
Pteradon Hunters Combat Block (Level 6)
HP 53, Speed 50ft Fly (Clumsy, Fly +3), Range 110ft
AC 16 (14 Touch, 11 Flat-Footed), CMD 22, CMB +9, Fort +6, Ref +8, Will+3, Init +8
Ranged +4/+4/-1 (+5/+5/+0 within 30ft), 1d8+2 (1d8+3 within 30ft), Crit x3
Feats Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, Mobility, Shot on the Run, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Pteradon have Strength +4 Girdles
Turenoth the Brass Dragon
CG Large dragon (fire)
Init +5; Senses Blindsense, Darkvision 60 ft, Perception +24
Aura frightful presence (180 ft., DC 20), Speed 60ft, Burrow 30ft, Fly 200ft (poor)
AC 28, touch 10, flat-footed 27; (+1 Dex, +18 natural, –1 size)
HP 161, Fort +14, Ref +10, Will +12, CMB +22; CMD 33 (37 vs. trip)
Damage Reduction 5/magic; Immune fire, paralysis, sleep; Spell Resistance 22
Vulnerable to cold (x1.5 damage)
Melee +20 (2d6+10)/+20/+20 (1d8+7)/+15/+15 (1d6+3)/+15 (1d8+10) Bite, Claws, Wings, Tail; Crit x2
Special Attacks Breath Weapon (80-ft. line, DC 22, 12d4 fire), Desert Wind (Fort DC 22 or Blind 1d4), Sleep Breath (60ft cone, Will DC 22 or sleep 1d6+6 rounds)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th)
At will—endure elements, speak with animals, Suggestion (DC Will 18)
Spells Known (CL 7th)
3rd (5/day)—Hold Person (Will DC 18), Tongues
2nd (7/day)—Alter Self, Detect Thoughts (Will DC 15), See Invisibility
1st (7/day)—Alarm, Charm Person (DC 16), Protection from Evil, Shield, Ventriloquism
0 (at will)—Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound (DC 13), Mage Hand, Message, Prestidigitation
Statistics: Str 25, Dex 12, Con 21, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 16
Base Atk +14; CMB +22; CMD 33 (37 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Flyby Attack, Hover, Greater Spell Focus (enchant), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Spell Focus (enchant)
Skills Bluff +20, Dip. +20, Fly +12, Heal +20, Ling. +20, Per. +24, Sense Motive +24, Spellcraft +20, Survival +20
Languages Common, Draconic, plus any 14 others
Special Quality Move Sand
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. - Henry David Thoreau
Last edited by JediMike42 on Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.