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emblasochist
06-08-2009, 06:39 PM
Now, for anyone that's played Magic: the Gathering, this might seem a bit old hat to you, but bear with please, and for everyone, keep in mind, I've got an idea for the end-game, and the beginning, and the world at large, but other than that, I'm winging the rest right now because I just haven't made all the content.

So, my players came to me wanting to get a regular game going and I was on a big kick about Slivers from Magic because they are just so damn cool when you're not getting sliced open by them. So the first idea that came to mind was a "fight the hive" hack'n'slash with some role play, because my players are more hack'n'slashy types. They fell in love with the idea. But I haven't told them everything yet. They know, if anything more than that its a campaign against the Hive, that its on a backwater plane that sends refugees to Sigil, but doesn't see much in the way of newcomers, mosly because the portal in's trigger involves a notice of help needed, and a really hard shove into the portal for it to activate. So, they are unawares that all the humanoids have come together into one collosal city-state behind a gargantuan wall of stone and steel. Forests, rivers, lakes, mountains, farmland, every imaginable type of terrain is inside,- and outside,- the walls of Bastion. Basically think something like the size of Alexander's empire, behind a wall larger than the Great Wall, but more effective...

So, the party stumbles into the world of Thundermaw into the town where the sole portal out of the hellhole exists. And guess who's standing there. The safekeepers of the portal. Their sworn duty, shepard the people of Bastion out of their world, and make sure that nothing gets into the domain that doesn't belong.

So that's the story just before the adventure starts, not the read-aloud text. I've yet to hone the read-aloud text. Anyway, so the adventurers are forced to answer why they're in this world, to the Portal Guard, and it starts as a skill challenge that if they fail, turns into a fight encounter with the party of level 1s versus a somewhat ragtag group of 5 level 4 humans. The fight has no spell-casters pitted against the group, just figthers with basic plate, longswords and heavy shields. It's meant to be a tough fight that they're kind of expected to lose. But, this time, if they fail, they don't die. They're just taken to the jail by the town gaurd - about 15 level 6s in chainmail with lances and longswords, where-upon they meet the viceroy. He, being a little less trigger happy, lets them go after a long discussion of what's going on and why everyone hates the Portal Guard. Infact, even if they DO beat the Portal Guard, they are still jailed and see the viceroy. Hell, they see him no matter what. It just depends on whether they trash a group that they'll later come to hate a lot. (The town guard likes you whether you pulp the Portal Guard, but the law says you have to be jailed. Even if they don't really lock the jail.)

So, after they are freed, they are free to wander the town and meet the people and get their first quests. I want to kind of steer them toward meeting the king because they're the first otherworldly visitors to Thundermaw in 300 years, and the king thinks that either they're expendable, or maybe they'll make things better for the empire and solve its sliver problem. To that end, I'm going to get them to fight a band of highwaymen that like the look of some adventurers that are wet behind their ears, and they trash them. Next, they'll be asked to investigate the missing kids of the town and in doing so, they'll encounter the slivers first-hand. At the end of the first night (and I think with some help from those here, I can get them to level 2 by then), they'll fight a group that WANTS to be the heroes, that are abject failures. By then they should have met the king and been tasked with finding a way out of Bastion, finding and eliminating all the slivers WITHIN Bastion (I'm thinking about having there be about one encounter's worth in the wilds within Bastion and a few that are being kept as pets) and then getting into the hive and negotiating a peace between the people of Thundermaw and the Sliver Queen's hive.

Let me know what you think, both good and bad, but be constructive with criticisms, please.

RoryN
06-08-2009, 08:33 PM
It all sounds pretty interesting as you have it. I would ask myself though how hard will it be for you to guide them towards meeting the King? Will they want to go their own way and explore? You may have the viceroy send them to the King (whether it's because he feels the group may fit the needs of the King, or maybe just to deliver a message) and then have the highwaymen encounter and some other things happen on the way. Just some thoughts. I know in trying to lead some of my groups to where I wanted them to be, they usually took roundabout ways of getting there.

Garthungalor
06-08-2009, 08:39 PM
I think it sounds like a neat idea. I kind of pictured on all-out war though when you first described the huge wall to keep out the slivers. It reminds me of the huge battle in Starship Troopers when the Marines are trying to defend the stronghold on that infested planet, and the bug body count is higher than the wall! The only thing I would be cautious about is "over-steering" the group to get them where you want them to go. I like the idea a lot of the whole city being behind a huge wall though, very cool!

emblasochist
06-08-2009, 09:13 PM
I think it sounds like a neat idea. I kind of pictured on all-out war though when you first described the huge wall to keep out the slivers. It reminds me of the huge battle in Starship Troopers when the Marines are trying to defend the stronghold on that infested planet, and the bug body count is higher than the wall! The only thing I would be cautious about is "over-steering" the group to get them where you want them to go. I like the idea a lot of the whole city being behind a huge wall though, very cool!

I never thought about the Starship Troopers thing. I guess the slivers are kind of like that. But also, its not just the country. The world is a Pangaea type world, and the only thing not inside the Hivelands are the oceans. Of course, Bastion doesn't cover nearly the whole landmass, but it covers about 40-60% of it... And while I am going to steer theim toward seeing the king, its only out of necessity; it'd be a real ***** to have to map out even in just my head, a whole world for a first play session.

So, yeah, the thing I need to come up with is a few more skill challenges/encounters for our first game session. I want them to get to the king, and be on their way out of the empire and have just gotten to level two before the end of the first game. Any ideas?

RoryN
06-08-2009, 10:11 PM
Do the slivers enslave any races to work for them? That could be an option to add another encounter as the players discover these "slaves" at work somewhere. It may even give them the chance to find out more about the hive. You mentioned the group needing to investigate missing children from the town, so maybe another race of slaves isn't an option here.

I think with a couple of combat encounters and possibly a rescue of missing children, you should be able to get the group up to 2nd level.

Q-man
06-09-2009, 06:36 AM
If I remember right, the Slivers in Magic were able to share their abilities. So if you added one that had regeneration, all the allied Slivers gained regeneration as well. First off, am I even remembering the right creature group, and second I'm curious if thats something you are adding to your Slivers? It might not add much to the campaign overall, but it would be an interesting strategy twist in the Sliver encounters. The main problem is describing them so that its clear what powers they are providing, otherwise it becomes a matter of luck to knock of the more powerful abilities.

The premise of the story I like, the city behind the wall under siege by the hive minded Slivers. You could add some encounters with minor slivers in the cities sewers, say the folks flushed their pet Slivers and its discovered they aren't dead down there.

I kind of like RoryN's idea of the missing kids going off to be slaves. Or you could go Starship Troopers style and say the Slivers are using them as test subjects to develop some new ability to wage their war on Bastion with.

Baron_Samedi
06-09-2009, 06:51 AM
The only thing i would add is an aspect from my shadowrunning days in the Containment zone of Chicago...make the 'slivers' or their proxys able to spiritually inhabit the players and briefly control their actions...that way the group is paranoid about everything the other members of their party is doing...always fun...sound like a solid idea...roll with it...no pun intended...or was there? (bum bum bum)

emblasochist
06-09-2009, 02:58 PM
If I remember right, the Slivers in Magic were able to share their abilities. So if you added one that had regeneration, all the allied Slivers gained regeneration as well. First off, am I even remembering the right creature group, and second I'm curious if thats something you are adding to your Slivers? It might not add much to the campaign overall, but it would be an interesting strategy twist in the Sliver encounters. The main problem is describing them so that its clear what powers they are providing, otherwise it becomes a matter of luck to knock of the more powerful abilities.

The premise of the story I like, the city behind the wall under siege by the hive minded Slivers. You could add some encounters with minor slivers in the cities sewers, say the folks flushed their pet Slivers and its discovered they aren't dead down there.

I kind of like RoryN's idea of the missing kids going off to be slaves. Or you could go Starship Troopers style and say the Slivers are using them as test subjects to develop some new ability to wage their war on Bastion with.
Yes, you remember correctly. Slivers give each other abilities. So, the idea I had was to set it so that their abilities were auras, and that any slivers in the aura got the ability. As for the slaver idea, I'm not so keen on that one, but I DO like the idea about having slivers in the sewers; the presumed carcasses of slivers that were kept as pets.

And I think I want three main enemy types; the military-classes of slivers (they're out for blood, and humanoids are a good food source, plus it doesn't hurt that they're seeking revenge for the humanoids that hunted the slivers for food and sport), the humanoids that seek to manipulate the hive, or just a few slivers, for their own purposes, and a band of failed adventurers that wish they could be the heroes of this story.

Q-man
06-09-2009, 05:36 PM
The aura's is a great way to handled their shared abilities. Assuming the discover the range, they'll be able to divide up the slivers to reduce the abilities they need to deal with.

Assuming you go with the sewers thing, you might be able to spin off a side quests where the Slivers inside the sewers found and opening to escape through (presumably the sewers empty outside the walls somewhere). At which point they might rejoin the hive and potential reveal the weakness in the wall and lead a strike into the sewers.

One thing i have a question about, is communication with the hive mind. I'm assuming the Slivers aren't tethered together, so that leaves some kind of telepathy between them. How would the adventurers negotiate with the hive mind? Unless of course negotiations consist of slaughtering it to remove the Sliver threat and bring about peace.

emblasochist
06-09-2009, 06:55 PM
The hivemind in my estimation always used telepathic communication, be it to Karn, Urza's silver golem, or to the rest of the hive. I think I will have a Sliver Legion and a Sliver Overlord, all in the hive, shaping their respective slivers' abilities also. And ultimately, the PCs will have the OPTION to, but not the NEED to, kill the whole hive, probably by detonating the volcano's caldera (I figure that the hive lives in a vast network of caves underground that eventually lead to Thundermaw's major active volcano).

And while I like the idea of the slivers being able to use the sewer system as a place to break into the city's defenses, I think that I'm not going to do that. I think I like the idea of small nests of slivers that have become cut off from the hivemind and are no longer bound to the Queen or the hive, and make it be that it wasn't a conscious decision by the slivers, just an event that happened. Because I think that the Queen has complete control over the hive while the slivers are within her sphere of control. Most slivers feel an inherent desire to return to the hive, but since, in my campaign, slivers are the epitome of evolution, nests form when slivers produce offspring outside the hive; the question then being how do they reproduce outside of the hive. I've got to think about that, to be honest, because just saying that it became an evolutionary advancement sounds like a cheap cop-out. I think I prefer the idea of the slivers being capable of Parthenogenesis, because it allows the hive to lay eggs, retrieval of which would be a big quest, and it makes it somewhat biologically sound. This can be researched further at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis.

Anyway, by not having the hive be trying to slaughter all the people of Bastion, it criminalizes the people or their ancestors for victimizing the hive, and it justifies the hive's response. It also supports the idea I had that suggested that the Sliver Queen was an experiment that succeeded too much, enacted by humanoid wizards and geneticists. Now, I know geneticism doesn't mesh with fantasy, but I'm looking at it in an elementary form, much like alchemists were very elementary chemists.

Q-man
06-10-2009, 05:45 AM
That moral twist at the end would make the full story very interesting. Hopefully your party will explore enough to learn the history behind it all. You should definitely finish that realm and get some folks in there to look around!

emblasochist
06-10-2009, 08:36 AM
For anyone interested in how this campaign turns out, I'll be posting most of the info about it on my RP group's Google group. http://groups.google.com/group/JobbersAdventuringCompany is the site, so feel free to check it out. I might also find myself blogging here about the successes and failures not only of the party, but of the campaign in general. However currently, both are sparse right now because the campaign (hopefully) starts this Friday evening. There've been no campaign handouts yet because I simply have not had time to put one out while building a whole monster manual from scratch. Once I figure out a better system for building monsters in bulk than making them one at a time with the Wizard's monster builder, I'll post that to the group's site. I also will likely post character sheets there too.

emblasochist
06-11-2009, 12:50 PM
I'm going through the list of Magic slivers and I'm running into some problems making abilities for a lot of slivers. Let me know what you'd do with these abilities and how you'd turn them into auras.

Haste First Strike Double Strike Flanking Provoke Colorless Managen Slivercycling Pay 2 life: Return to hand Absorb 1 Fateseal 1 1, Sac: Each player must discard a card 2, Sac: Target player must discard a card at random Gain a creature type of your choice till end of turn 2, Sac: Draw a card 3, Sac: Destroy target permanent Whenever the target of a spell an opponent controls, draw a card At the beginning of your upkeep, this creature does 1 damage to you T: This creature does 2 damage to target creature or player and 3 damage to itself If this creature would go to the graveyard, return it to the top of your library Can be played any time you would play an instant; can play slivers any time you would play an instant T: This creature deals 1 damage to target attacking or blocking creature Can't be countered; slivers cant be countered T; Target player puts the top card of his library into his graveyard Gets +1/+1 as long as you control a swamp and B: regenerate Shadow Can't be blocked except by slivers +1/+1 for each other sliver in play 3: Search your library for a sliver of your choice and put it in your hand; 3: Gain control of target sliver 2: Put a 1/1 sliver token into play 2: +1/+1 until end of turn +1/+1 for each creature blocking it Can block as though it had flying Whenever a sliver deals damage to a player, you may draw a card Vigilance Whenever a sliver deals damage to a creature, destroy it, it cannot be regenerated Cannot be blocked except by two or more creatures Whenever this creature dealt damage that was sent to the graveyard, put a +1/+1 counter on it 2, Sac: Gain 4 life Poisonous 1 Protection from the color of choice when cast.

I can email you my spreadsheets with how I am dealing with other sliver's abilities; you just have to ask.

Q-man
06-11-2009, 03:10 PM
Thats quite a list of features. Guess its been a long time since I've played that game, a lot of the terms I don't understand.

There are a few that I do recognize, and I am curious how you're converting them into D&D mechanics. I wouldn't mind a copy of your spreadsheet once you've completed it. It would serve as an interesting conversion sheet for pretty much all of the monsters in the Magic realms.

Aside from the abilities I assume you've got something in mind for the basic strength and defense that each sliver has? I don't remember them being very strong individually, but in large groups they were quite a threat.

emblasochist
06-11-2009, 05:04 PM
Thats quite a list of features. Guess its been a long time since I've played that game, a lot of the terms I don't understand.

There are a few that I do recognize, and I am curious how you're converting them into D&D mechanics. I wouldn't mind a copy of your spreadsheet once you've completed it. It would serve as an interesting conversion sheet for pretty much all of the monsters in the Magic realms.

Aside from the abilities I assume you've got something in mind for the basic strength and defense that each sliver has? I don't remember them being very strong individually, but in large groups they were quite a threat.

The general idea is that a lot of the slivers that I create rather than Wizards did will be minions; the slivers that Wizards created will probably be a bit like dragons are in the 4th edition MM; that is, they will reappear with their auras being more powerful and their levels and sizes and attacks adjusted to fill out the levels of the MM. And so far, when something has an ability I find the closest analogue to it in DnD and balance it so that no single ability is extremely more powerful than any other ability, unless the ability is for an elite or solo.

nijineko
06-13-2009, 10:32 PM
it occurs to me that if the players are the first visitors to this place in nearly/over 300 years, that would be instant celebrity status, and reason enough to get at least one audience with the king. and then the nobles would all want a shot at inviting them first to their parties to see what influence the newcomers could provide.

if this is a world based on the card game... then having the common folk being phobic of spellcasters might be a nice twist... since the ccg pretty much follows the "world(s) at the mercy of battling wizards" premise. or on the other hand, their last spellcaster died, so they don't have a way to "use the cards" in their defense anymore, and need new spellcasters. you could go either way with this idea.

just some thoughts.

emblasochist
06-14-2009, 12:12 AM
My plan is to make the king a elderly eladrin wizard that was raised in the hellacious world of Thundermaw that has seen enough perish trying to rid their world of the slivers. He was one of the foolish ones that tried to fight the hive when the hive developed the means to fight back. Back then, they lacked the good sense to stop harrassing the hive. When he was the sole survivor of his group of 30, he was given a hero's welcome home, and in the few days following his return, he was granted a single request of his king; the building of a gigantic wall surrounding the empire. When it proved effective in stalling and almost completely hindering all the sliver attacks, his king gave him the responsibility of saving his people from themselves upon his death.

Since becoming king somewhere around 300 years ago, he has instated a limit to the number of children a family can have to prevent the walls of Bastion of being overcrowded, raised a standing army that defends the whole nation from the small sliver attacks that the nation suffers, but these strikes are very minor attacks, about 5 of the creatures trying to get into the walls, and always fail without so much as a single death since unifying all the humanoid races of the world and giving them a state mandated education. The society has become a near utopian arrangement where the everyone earns their daily bread by filling a role the nation, or its communities needs, and those that do not do their share are jailed, and forced to work fields or other food preparation tasks. They haven't completely eliminated the need for money because it still is simpler to trade coins for services or goods than proving that they are not a drain on society. As such, it provides a chance for its people to trade with coins, and it also allows players still the chance to earn gold or rewards that can be exchanged for money.

And it occurs to me that I haven't addressed your concern. The reasoning I have for telling the players that they can't just meet the king is that he wants to be sure that the next time the people leave for the hive, they will succeed where his band of 30 failed. They have to convince the king that they aren't out for blood because his group was, and he does not want anyone to jeopardize the peace between the hive and the empire behind the wall. His intentions in letting anyone into the hive is to have them secure a permanent solution to the threat of attacks from either side.

So, your thoughts everyone?

nijineko
06-15-2009, 12:24 AM
how much of the world beyond the wall does anyone know? are there any other locations or directions that the players can go to quest and 'prove' themselves without necessarily antagonizing the slivers?

emblasochist
06-15-2009, 06:43 AM
The city-state of Bastion actually takes up about 70% of the land of the world. Much of the rest is hive territory, and small nests free of the queen's commanding will. The rest is the coastline outside the walls of the nation, and a no-man's land, if you will, but the nested slivers do not respect that.

The whole idea of the campaign was to have to interact with the hive and to hopefully broker a lasting peace between the hive and the empire. I think what I will do to make it make sense is have the party have to bring the heads of the slivers that have broken free of her will, and since they've been touched by the elemental chaos, have the party fight the daemon princes, allowing them to be free from the daemon princes' influence.