View Full Version : I May Have DM'd Myself Into a Corner

03-08-2011, 09:24 PM
In my campaign, the group is doing well - all about 4th level - and I think I stepped on my DM winkie.

Traveling through a town, the local militia is organizing - and as the group asks why, the town is suddenly attacked by a HUGE golem (a warforged titan from Eberron). The titan is CR-8 and the party is only level 3-4, so if they engage, it's a guaranteed TPK - and they IMMEDIATELY understand this (without prompting!!) and look for alternatives. The group is near some siege weapons that were being sent up to help the next town to the North from some horrible calamity (the titan), so two characters stay there to buff the crews and help (VERY brilliant idea, by the way!!), and the party mage takes off to circle around the titan to see if he can spot any weaknesses.

He notices that the titan is jerky and is already damaged, but the way it moves is... strange. When he keeps asking, I just finally reply, all exasperated, "Like a marionette." After about 20 rounds of the titan destroying the town as he heads toward the keep, the party sees a man in black robes and a strange mask in a high church bell-tower (the party has been plagued by warlocks).

Leaving the siege weapons to continue to be relatively ineffective (hey, it's AC 28!) the party rushes the temple. After an "epic" battle, the group defeats a group of 3-4th level defenders and the warlock in the mask falls to his death in epic fashion. It was BRILLIANTLY done - with only one unfortunate death of the party cleric.

Here's the quandary...

The local lord was killed in the town defense. His heir is too young (but has a regent that can step in). The party got ZERO treasure - other than the mask that controls the titan (like a motorcycle helmet that lets you see through the titan's eyes and control his movements by mimicking your moves).

What the heck do I do for the party? The investigation has shown that they stopped the rampage and didn't plan it. The town is 40% destroyed. There is a huge mech in the town that is awaiting a "new" master to control it.

Would you just let the party go with a "thank you" and kick in the pants? Would you let them keep the titan (they plan on taking it to an artificer to cannibalize for parts and experience, not use to take over the world!)? Would you consider knightly titles for them? How about a cash reward? The town has to rebuild. The old ruler was a jerk and people are relatively happy about his early death, but there's still a void.

I planned the adventure in 10 minutes... but didn't get to the aftermath.


03-08-2011, 09:47 PM
I have tried the land and title route many times with great success. Most players will joyfully spend huge amounts in up keep and building up thier fiefdoms. They get to experience some of the great joys of creation that we DM's experience. It creates a bond with their world and many opportunities for futher adventure.

03-08-2011, 11:39 PM
There is also the option of just Asking the players what they would like to obtain from it, if they want to get some land, work with that, there is also the option of the Regent giving the players a Future favor once the town is rebuilt & in better shape.

03-10-2011, 12:49 AM
using the warforged as a construction tool for rebuilding should net the party kudos. however, if knowledge of this particular mask - construct fell into the wrong hands... well, bad things might happen. ^^ Also, if they beat the bad guys, they might have some claim on the thing... that or the town will want to claim it.

i'm trying not to think about certain mech manga and anime just now... obviously failing.

03-10-2011, 08:04 AM
I'll second the land and title. You could also throw in some services that the town might be willing to offer. Perhaps a charter that gave them a good deal of freedom of movement would be helpful.

Many years ago I had a player that really ran with the land and title concept. The title he had was mostly ceremonial, but that didn't stop him from empire building. It also turned into a good way to lighten the purse.

03-11-2011, 12:28 AM
stronghold builders guidebook.

03-11-2011, 12:37 AM
You don't have reward them in this adventure. Double the loot in the next.

Crom on his Mountain
03-15-2011, 04:39 PM
A hearty handshake on the way out the door. My players often don't receive loot nor do they always expect loot, that's what makes them heroes instead of mercenaries.

03-16-2011, 12:44 AM
i have this one set of characters who keeps giving away loot to various npcs. in later adventures, these npcs have become favored contacts, which was not only an rp award but and in game award too. worked out nicely.

03-18-2011, 11:22 AM
From what I understand, it isn't like the town asked for them to help fight, so there shouldn't be that much of a reward if any. It could be as simple as now they can come into town and not have to be questioned as to their purpose of being there. Makes it nice when your adventuring party has a place or two that they can go and not have to worry about the locals constantly watching their every movement and action.

Another thing to look at is that if the town folk find out that the party now knows how to operate that titan, the town may be quite worried that the party could use the titan to become rulers that are worse than the one that was killed in the battle.

03-19-2011, 10:39 PM
I cheated and followed Dolanar's advice... I just asked the players.

It turns out that it was simple. One of the characters died in the encounter and had a version of a Figuring of Wondrous Power that made a wagon that would move at one mile/hour as long as someone "steered" it. The players wanted a newer "updated" version. I was able to fulfill their request with an estimated GP balance left over and then threw in a couple magical trinkets as well.

The town has laid claim to the titan and is using it to rebuild.

I want to thank you all for your help!!

I was against the land and title due to the land possibly tying them down to the area, and the campaign arc is taking them all over the known world. I'll reconsider the titles later, if it is appropriate. Considering another thread here, I figure I'll let you all know that this adventure was pulled out of my head in about two minutes as I hadn't prepared anything else for the last encounter (dopey me!), so I hadn't thought the loot thing through.

Again, THANKS!!