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PaganMegan

Eberron Game! No Auld Grumpies Allowed!

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Posting on Grump's computer, not my Fire. I need to have more than one sentence paragraphs! (I almost posted as The Auld Grump because I hadn't logged Dennis out before logging me in.  ::P: )

 

From time to time Grump has told me that he has literally dreamed a scenario, and I never really believed him.

 

But I told Grump that one of his Christmas presents this year was going to be running a game so he could play for a change.

 

Then I realized that I had NO FREAKING CLUE what I was going to run, and almost asked if he would like to run the game WITH me instead.

 

Then Saturday night I had a dream where I was running a game, directing a movie, and watching the movie/game and suddenly I knew what I was going to run!

 

Grump left out how WICKED AWESOME it is to dream an adventure. Suddenly I know why Grump runs games. I woke up from the dream because I WANTED TO WRITE IT DOWN!

 

And it was REALLY nice to have my subconscious send me a message in something other than a nightmare. It sent me the solution!

 

Wow, that was still a lot of one sentence paragraphs!

 

Strangely, I dreamed I was running/directing/watching an Eberron adventure, even though until yesterday, I had never read any Eberron material, just knew what Grump had told me.

 

Eberron is actually pretty awesome, and is NOTHING like Forgettable Realms or Greyhawk. It is its own place, and holds together better than any setting I have read before.

 

The dream was a mash up of Casablanca, Raiders of the Lost Arc, National Treasure, and Maltese Falcon. Some of it was narrated by the Grump as Humphrey Bogart. ::D:

 

The idea is that the PCs start out hired by somebody to track down an artifact that will help the gods manifest on Eberron, instead of the hands off approach that is used in the setting. (Eberron even has atheists!)

 

In the dream the introductory patron was this fat naked man that was sometimes a silver dragon, meeting the players in a bath house, while nubile young women scrubbed him. A fat silver dragon, using the human shape to conduct business.

 

Part of that is as a dragon, being naked really does not bother him. And part of it is to make the player characters uncomfortable, so they would not spend too much time wondering what he is really up to.

 

And what the players don't know at the time is that sometimes he EATS one of those nubile young women.

 

He starts as their mentor and patron, both for the players and those young women, but he is really REALLY evil, and wants to use the artifact as a way of controlling the Draconic Prophecy, fulfilling its tenets in such a way that he decides what it means. The women are cultists, but do not know that he is just using (and eating) them. They literally mean nothing to him beyond his own convenience.

 

Rescuing the damsels from the dragon will probably be one of the adventures, at least if I know the way Grump thinks. (He WILL try to rescue them!)

 

Even after the players learn that the dragon is the bad guy, they will need a patron, and I need to come up with several, good, bad, academic, and mercenary.

 

Travel in the adventure will be free as long as they have a patron, and EVERY time they are traveling, something happens, or sometimes THEY happen to somebody else! I picture one of those maps where you see the characters' travels being highlighted with a colored line, like in those old movies.

 

And the scene where Indiana Jones is racing his horse alongside a train, then jumping from the horse on top of the train.

 

In the civilized areas travel will be by lightning rail, and when going to less civilized areas travel will be by either ship or airship.

 

Trying to keep one thing Grump has told me over and over. "An adventure is not the story. The adventure is the framework for the story that the players tell." Don't come up with a single way to handle or solve a problem, come up with three, and expect the players to come up with four, five, and six.

 

Doing this like the old serials  and writing each part while running the previous part. I have a general shape for the story, and an idea of where it is going. And most of all, even if the dragon DOES get the artifact, it won't do what he thinks it will do. The dragon is just as much a pawn of the REAL villain as the players start out as the dragon's!

 

One of the things I like about Eberron, more than the Pathfinder world, is that the place is designed for globe trotting, and can handle a plot that covers more than one continent, let alone country.

 

I am sure that Grump's DMing dreams are more coherent than mine was, but it was WONDERFUL! I went from worrying about the game to really REALLY looking forward to it! I am actually EXCITED about this!

 

SO! I am asking for ideas for potential player patrons! One is already in the game, the Wayfinder Foundation, pretty much the Pathfinder Society by a different name. (Or the Pathfinder Society is the one with the different name, since Eberron came first.) I am picturing the leader of the Wayfinder Foundation a lot like the explorer in Up! But I will look up what he supposed to be like before committing to that.

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Oh! I am going to be running this after Grump finishes Curse of the Crimson Throne, so two months or probably three!

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IIRC (haven't read any Eberron material since the days of 3.5) the varying houses are the real players in Eberron, perhaps moreso even than the different countries that were in a barely below Hot Cold war having just finished the 100 years War (or whatever it was called). As such, picking a patron from one of the houses would be a great start as well. 

 

Even better, its entirely plausible (I would think) that just exactly which house said patron represents isn't exactly clear, kind of like a Shadowrun Mr. Johnson who you may think you know who is he working for, but maybe isn't. Heck, you could even make it so that the patron is ultimately an agent of the actual Big Bad Guy.

 

More to the point, as someone who has almost always been a GM during my RPG career, this is a super awesome Christmas gift!

 

Finally, it seems you are already on the ball with this, but remember that no plan, no matter how well thought out, detailed, and executed ever survives first contact with the PCs. ;)

 

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Rivals for the PCs!

 

Other groups after the Maguffin!

 

And one of them a bad girl that can be redeemed, a femme fatale with a motive that can lead to her being flipped!

 

Gawd! No wonder Grump likes DMing!

1 minute ago, Gargs said:

Finally, it seems you are already on the ball with this, but remember that no plan, no matter how well thought out, detailed, and executed ever survives first contact with the PCs. ;)

 

 

Grump tells me that that is the whole POINT of running games! If the PCs do exactly what you expect them to do then you are doing something wrong.

 

He sets up games where things go along smoothly until you learn ONE important detail, and then the plot train sails merrily off the tracks while the DM laughs!

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So, yeah...in the Movies thread, you mentioned this, and I was like "wait, there's an Eberron thread?" So now here I am.

 

In my Eberron--oh. Let's start there. I've been running Eberron since 2010, very nearly weekly with only a few breaks here and there. I'm about to start running my second campaign in the setting...so the characters from the first campaign have left some pretty serious footprints in the world my players know. With that in mind, take any of what i say about the world with a grain of salt, because I sometimes deviate from the published material. I think it's a phenomenal setting for doing pretty well whatever you like, so use my ideas or don't because there's very little "canon" about the place.

 

So. Power groups for plot hooks and patrons...

 

In my Eberron, the Twelve Houses are definitely a big deal, as are the Church of Silver Flame and Sovereign Host. The various monarchs are a big deal, but not really the power players in my world.

 

That said, the Brelish Dark Lanterns are a great place to start if you want some more Noir-esque or John LeCarre sorts of plots. Easy to cast them as patrons or adversaries.

 

Houses: First off, encourage at least one or two of your players to have a connection to one of the Houses; it helps with hooks as you move along, as you can either nudge the party in a direction by House Fiat (not my preference, but sometimes the sandbox is intimidating and the group needs a push in some direction), or you can use the tenets of the House to push and pull a character in interesting ways. That said, your PCs don't need to have dragonmarks or be major scions of the house to be connected to it. Just because each house has ruling families, doesn't mean the House blood isn't thinly spread throughout a hundred families or more, or that the House doesn't employ thousands of people not of the Blood.

 

Some thoughts for patronage and plot hooks:

Cannith always wants something. If you want to run a fetch-quest for a magic macguffin, they'll be the ones asking for it. They also have a lot of interest in exploring Xen'drik. I actually really love the pre-made adventure in the back of the campaign setting, as well as the first published module* (which picks up where the campaign setting adventure leaves off); there's a good NPC Cannith patron in there (one of my PCs actually ended up marrying her!)

 

Lyrandar is very protective of their proprietary tech (seafaring and air ships), but not always great at land-based operations; they're sailors by nature. So if an airship went down in the southwestern borderlands of Aundair, they may need some help retreiving the wreckage. Then again, so might...

 

Orien, as Lyrandar's chief rival in the getting-things-from-here-to-there business, is always happy to get their hands on Lyrandar tech. I also ran a reaally fun and rewarding arc dealing with Orien expanding the Lightning Rail into the Eldeen Reach; the players wound up between the Orien railway overseer and a sect of druids trying to protect the forest. It was a lot of fun watching the PCs try to decide how to deal with a situation where there really were no bad guys.

 

Phiarlan and Thuranni used to be the same house, and their primary expertise is in espionage. Now they're two different houses, divided by betrayal and blood, and their expertise is still in espionage. That cold war thriller practically writes itself. If you have a PC from one of these houses, you can sic them on NPCs from the other house, or you can ignore the connection for a while, then have the party wake up in the Inn room with a few shadowdancer assassins in the room with them. Create long-running feuds with a recurring NPC from the other house...the PCs get a macguffin, then the NPC steals it from them while they sleep, etc. Bonus points if all this happens while the PCs are on a mission for...

 

Sivis, the postal service. Some messages can't be trusted to the telephone (message stones, whatever), so they need to be quietly delivered in person. Maybe the courier needs bodyguards, or maybe a PC is the courier. If the PC is a warforged, maybe he doesn't even know he's carrying the message, embedded in his new Final Messenger. I had a few Sivis dragonmarked heirs who were intercepting messages and selling information to the highest bidder; Sivis needed them dealt with quickly and quietly, so there was some nice intra-house conflict there. Especially nice if you have a PC who belongs to the House, then finds out his superior (a patron for several character levels, maybe) or sibling is doing this...is your loyalty to the House, or to the individual?

 

Kundarak keeps things safe...this is an opportunity for dungeon delving and puzzle solving a la Tomb Raider or National Treasure as the party is tasked to delve a collapsed vault. And the House that holds the keys to every bank on the continent is a very good friend to have...

 

Deneith is great for some good ol'  military/bodyguard sorts of adventures, but the real plot is in the Sentinels...think of them like the Jedi, as international peacekeepers. And also hidebound, stodgy and inflexible...just like the Jedi.

 

Tharashk and Vadalis are great if you want to set up urban/rural conflicts, or if you like running deep wilderness adventures. The local Vadalis guy is good to know if you need packhorses or living transportation, and may have some good quest hooks if there are poachers or cattle rustlers in the area.

 

Ghallanda has a vested interest in keeping its inns and taverns neutral ground for any faction, be it religious, military or dragonmarked...but they also have a vested interest in knowing what goes on in their facilities. If the PCs are hired by Ghallanda, maybe it's to play bouncer, or maybe it's to follow a patron as they travel. If the PCs run afoul of the house they could find themselves shut out of every decent inn on the continent. Maybe the PCs catch one of Ghallanda's spies in the act and the spy is willing to do anything to keep the PCs quiet...either pay them or kill them, who knows?

 

Jorasco, the healing House...might be the Sovereign Host is making inroads in a community traditionally loyal to Jorasco. The healers certainly don't want any bloodshed, but they also don't want another healing house taking their profits. Which side do the PCs fall on? And the best hospitals around are a good place to have an "in" with the staff.

 

And, of course, Medani. For when all the stuff I've just described is being done by NPCs, and the PCs need to figure out how and why. Or when the PCs are looking for a macguffin and you want someone else to look for it, too.

 

Also, don't forget Morgrave, Arcanix, Rekkenmark and Wynarn. These are the great centers of learning on Khorvaire. Arcanix and Rekkenmark are pretty specific (arcane and military training, respectively), but Morgrave and Wynarn have a fantastic rivalry as the major liberal arts universities. Morgrave is generally thought of as the place for crackpots and adventurers, while Wynarn is for more serious scholars. My upcoming campaign actually starts with thePCs as students** in Morgrave's archaeology program...which sets me up for some Indiana Jones shenanigans.

 

So, yeah, I'll talk about Eberron for hours. I love the place.

 

 

*there is a whole series of pre-made Eberron modules in edition 3.5, starting with the adventure in the campaign setting, then going through at least three modules. I ran all of them...the campaign setting adventure is a nice intro to Eberron, has some good noirish elements...the first module was aa lot of fun...and the rest are dreck. Some interesting ideas in them (some cool set piece sessions in the second module worth stealing), but on the whole they're awful. 

 

**I give my players some really specific direction during character creation so they fit nicely into the style of world I'm running. Not that I'm dictating characters, just giving some specific starting points so everyone's on the same page before I open up the door to the sandbox.

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Sounds helpful. ::):

 

Do you know if anyone has done any conversions for Eberron to Pathfinder?

 

Warforged are easy, I have two different Pathfinder conversions right here, and I really like the Kobold Press Gearforged for the replacement.

 

Changelings and shifters might be harder.

 

I gave Grumpy a red herring, I pulled out Kaladrax, and left her to guard my books!

 

There WILL be a great undead wyrm in the deep background, but so deep I don't think they will ever meet her.

 

She is mostly concerned with watching over her line as the centuries pass, and she is using the silver as a stalking horse.

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I haven't actually played any PF, so I've never gone looking for those. I'd imagine shifters are fairly simple, though, as they are mostly human with a small attribute bump for a limited time.

 

Changelings might be harder, but they're mostly just some "alter self" abilities.

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1 hour ago, PaganMegan said:

Sounds helpful. ::):

 

Do you know if anyone has done any conversions for Eberron to Pathfinder?

 

Warforged are easy, I have two different Pathfinder conversions right here, and I really like the Kobold Press Gearforged for the replacement.

 

Changelings and shifters might be harder.

 

I gave Grumpy a red herring, I pulled out Kaladrax, and left her to guard my books!

 

There WILL be a great undead wyrm in the deep background, but so deep I don't think they will ever meet her.

 

She is mostly concerned with watching over her line as the centuries pass, and she is using the silver as a stalking horse.

I appreciate you encouraging rampant paranoia within Auld Grump. ^_^

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The Pathfinder book "Blood of the Moon" is basically all about shifters.

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First off: Sanael, you deserve about 1,000 "likes" for that awesome post!  Its literally been years since I played in Eberron so couldn't remember a whole lot outside the general feel of things (which is pretty cool). 

 

As for the shifters and changelings, I would think you could probably "fake" it by using the rules in the Advanced Race Guide for creating your own races. I know there are rules for giving you the ability to say, cast Bull's Strength, and I believe there are different point values based on whether its an at-will or X times a day for instance. Likewise you could probably come up with something for the Changelings from there as well. All in all though, I would think that running Eberron in PF would be fairly simple. As a last resort, you can always wait and see if any of your players even want to play shifters or changelings because if they don't, then you really don't need to worry. Additionally, you could probably get away with just running them more or less "as is" in the Eberron book. I can't recall all their assorted rules, but its probably not too hard to just port over their abilities as is. Even if they come off as a little stronger or weaker than the other races based off their base stat blocks, that's easily remedied later through gear.

 

On 1/8/2018 at 8:48 PM, Sanael said:

With that in mind, take any of what i say about the world with a grain of salt, because I sometimes deviate from the published material. I think it's a phenomenal setting for doing pretty well whatever you like, so use my ideas or don't because there's very little "canon" about the place.

 

Nothing to worry about here either. After all, a HUGE part of the fun of GM'ing is creating your own stuff! As I referenced in a different thread about colors for different creatures, I recently had my players run into some blue skinned trolls because I wanted to use my Trollblood minis from Hordes, and in THAT setting trolls tend to be blue-skinned. One of the players simply asked "Is it unusual in this world for trolls to have blue skin?" When I said not really, they accepted it. (we are using Golarion btw, so per "canon" yeah, its unusual, but for our game it doesn't need to be). The whole point was whether or not there was another mystery to dissect based on the blue skin. 

 

More to the point, with some groups (though probably not Auld) changing things can almost be a must because you'll run into some players that will make decisions based on player knowledge rather than character knowledge. "Oh, its a goblin, its evil in the MM, kill it!" etc., etc. 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Gargs said:

First off: Sanael, you deserve about 1,000 "likes" for that awesome post!

 

As a last resort, you can always wait and see if any of your players even want to play shifters or changelings because if they don't, then you really don't need to worry.

 

 

Nothing to worry about here either. After all, a HUGE part of the fun of GM'ing is creating your own stuff!

 

 

Thanks, I spend enough time "in world" it's easy for me to prattle on, I'm glad if it does someone some good!

 

Snipped your post up for a couple specific points...

 

Yes, if your PCs don't want the races it's ok to just pretend they don't exist...but especially if you're doing a noirish, hidden-identity sort of plot thread, the changelings are great. It's super fun to have a villain and his entire network of spies all be the same person.

 

If you haven't checked it out, Keith Baker's blog "Dragonmarks" is a phenomenal Eberron resource. He did a write-up on changelings society not too long g ago that was awesome.

 

And yes! Change what you want! Do whatever! I love playing with "colorless" dragons, where the typical red=evil paradigm is "normal" but far from a sure thing. Red dragons are always fire, but not always evil. It's a fun way to that player expectations sometimes.

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Something to add re: changelings...one of the coolest things Baker talks about in his blog post for changelings...hang on...

 

http://keith-baker.com/dragonmarks-changelings/

 

There. 

 

Anyway, cool thing: hereditary personas. Fun for PCs, also a fun twist for recurring NPCs. If you enjoy vengeful NPC plots, it's even more fun when the catch phrase goes, "my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed Inigo Montoya. Prepare to die!"

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16 minutes ago, Sanael said:

 

Yes, if your PCs don't want the races it's ok to just pretend they don't exist...but especially if you're doing a noirish, hidden-identity sort of plot thread, the changelings are great. It's super fun to have a villain and his entire network of spies all be the same person.

 

 

Actually what I was more getting at was not to pretend they don't exist, but rather, if nobody is playing them, they can still exist in the background and you just "run" them as you need to for your campaign. So they still show up as NPCs, adversaries, etc., but the actual mechanics of the races can be at least somewhat "hand waved" until one of your players decides that he or she wants to play a character of the given race. So yeah, don't pretend that they don't exist (they are actually one of the cool elements of the setting that make the setting unique) but you may not have to worry about the exact mechanics is more what I was getting at. 

 

Oh, and awesome link. Don't know when I'll get a chance to play in Eberron again, but its always nice to have resources!

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