October Challenge - Myth-Weavers


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October Challenge

October Challenge

The Challenge: Create-a-town
System: Any
Party: Any
Objective: Build a small town through which the party will travel.
Specifications: The town should contain one key plot element and at least two unrelated points of intrigue. The town may contain up to 100 residents, including 5 prominent and 1 leader. Consideration should be given to (a) how the party will arrive in town, (b) how they will interact with the townsfolk, and (c) how the plot element will be executed.
Deadline: October 31, 11:59 pm GMT

So, when you say "The town may contain up to 100 residents, including 5 prominent and 1 leader" you mean that there can be no more than 100 people living in this town, correct?

Hallowed Hope

Town: Hallowed Hope located within the haunted Darkmoore, lies a small and paranoid town beset on age old practices and references to cannon doctrine regarding laws and formal processes. Located in the wilderness featuring pine trees and and clover leaf shrubs, the town is home to sixty-seven ffolk. Located near Mt. Spire a medley of mountainous regions. Hallowed Hope shines brightly as a jewel cascading out from the darkened land. Hunchbacked beasts and haunted spirits roam the unhallowed earth, searching to spread its borders to outward towns such as Midalia, Eversk and Deeba. Situated on the borders where all three cities meet. Hallowed Hope is known for bringing several key elements to the region which help its own town and the other populaces of the area. Furs and Hunting include wild boars and deer for hunting foods to the region and bears and lynx for furs. Hallowed Hope is known for their carpenters, making use of the wild wooded frontier. Axesmiths and loggers journey to regions within the Darkmoore Forest to find suitable logs that will stoke hearths in harsh winters and make soild lumbers for wood craftsman. Fishing is another staple of Hallowed Hope as they prepare their fishing poles on the freshwater rivers of the Sesquhana. Ice fishing and summer fishing, searching for bass, salmon, walleye and perch as the fish are caught, they are brought back by the dozens for salting and preparations to Mildalia, Eversk, and Deeba. There is one trade route that carries the merchantile caravans Northwest. Sometimes called the Mudded Trail, it is known for its hard travel on off season journey or weather beaten fall. While Hallowed Hope is known for being self sufficent, there is some common points of interest within Hallowed Hope that make journey there on the list to do from the bigger cities surrounding the town.
Located on Main Street are the several key points developed when the city was built to showcase the talented crafters of Hallowed Hope. Of which is a candle making shop that is dedicated to producing quality scented candles. Made from legumes of fresh fruit and parfine wax, their is several key candles to note while traveling to Hallowed Hope. A red candle smelling of cinnamon and star annise, this candle is one of the best sellers in Hallowed Hope. Another is a good lasting scent that houswifes and mothers used to keep their homes smelling fresh. A yellow candle with a lemon scent. THe candle maker is married to the Mayor of the town and keeps the shop running all year round. Using different scents of the seasons has been her trademark and way to give the people what they want. Another noted member of Hallowed Hopes society is the Butcher. Everything ranging from meats to poultry, The Butcher barters wheat and barly and sometimes flour to the hunters for their hunting catches. Tenderloin, boneless ribs, leg quarters and briskets line the shops wall. A burly man with a curled mustache, he is jovial and somewhat eccentric. talking to his meat as he cuts it. Seperating the fat from meat, the man will smile as you enter the building and greet you with "Well how are ya? What can I do for you?" Another person to mention is peoples favorite. The Commissar, the person who meets with the Mayor to finalize laws, court rulings and preceedings, he is the sheriff of the town and has several milita under his belt. Working to protect Hallowed Hope from randomized attacks from Mt Spires and the outlying region, the Commissar has alot of work to complete and is rarely seen. When he is spotted, he is usually cort and quick to the point. A fast talker, he is known for wanting progress and results. People in and around the town are quick to sign up for adventuring. Raids to the farthest regions of the frontier, usually take the adventuring group right into the middle of the problem and alleiviate some element that needed fixed. The Commissar pays quite handsomely and lives up to his end of the bargain. The Banker is everyones least favorite person in the town of Hallowed Hope. In charge of of the local bank, he is in charge of the currency within Hallowed Hope. Noted for keeping the books on peoples taxes, he is usually the bearer of band news. He holds no ill will towards people, but people hold ill will towards him. Forclosing on peoples property, making ffolk pay back taxes. He really wants to get along with people, but his job doesn't allow him to make friends very easily or for that matter keep them. "Usually being the best friend in the beginning of the relationship, but by the end he is their worst enemy. Also considered one of the richer ffolk of Hallowed Hope. The last person to note in this town is not of good standing by any measure, but of ill-repute and unworthy consideration. The town thug or bully, known for light and moderate crimes such as town drunkeness and petty thievery has continually been a sore spot for Hallowed Hope. The town is at a loss as what to do with him. They can only keep him in the constablary for only so long. All the above are noted for shaping the town of Hallowed for what it is.

Prominent Leader(s): Mayor Walter Matthews Duscka - Staunch and Foreboding, the Mayor of Hallowed Hope, born of civility and nobleborn blood, rules with a tight grip on the surrounding land of Darkvale. Extreme opposites to his wife Clara Duscka, it seems that the Mayor is all about business of the day and running the town to meet its demands. Usually meeting with Yuri Ustev the Commissar daily, the meetings are informal at Citizens Hall. A medium size building that joins the Constabalary next to it.

Clara Mina Duscka: Candleshop Maker and Wife to Mayor Duscka, Aromas the name of the Candleshop was passed through two generations. From her Grandmother Elsa to her Mother Jeanry. Clara prides herself on the scented candles and purchases the best ingredients that coin can by. She extensively works in the world to reach out to Midalia, Deeba and Eversk to open new shops as she makes yearly travel to those cities to hobknob with the social elite. Usually without her husband Walter to accompany her, she is always advertising her store and meeting new aquintances.

Commissar Yuri Ustev: Flighty and a fast talker, it seems that Yuri is the Mayors fetchboy. Always running errands and taking a commanding presence of the town milita when needed. Honest of the appreciation of help that he gets from all races, he is the towns recluse and his appearances have been little to none recently.

Butcher Annala Brodel: An eccentric and jovial man, Annala is constantly talking to himself while he fastens portions for selling in his market. Known for his cordial welcomes he usually is scoffed and laughed upon by the town for his mental disturbances. It is not known if he holds any ill will towards any for if he does he does not show it in his attitude nor mannerisms.

Banker Hoss Gustav: A small stocky man, known for his quirky motto, "Taxation with Representation", is usually said as property and taxes are levied against ffolk of Hallowed Hope. He does not say this on purpose only thinking of no other better way to stick his two coppers when conversation runs dry.

Judd: Having a rough life, Judd is known for spending all of his coin on woman and drink. When Judd drinks, one never knows how he was to act. Tavern fights and escapdes through the streets yelling at the top of his lungs as Judd searched for something missing.

Summary: The adventures will arrive in town through the Mudded Trail. A muddy trail with some optional monster encounters. Once they arrive in town, they will stumble upon Judd about to be hanged for the murder of Hoss Gustav. All the key leaders of the town will be present during the attempt to hang Judd for his murder. It will be the PCs job to stop the hanging before it is too late. Using skill checks to sway the angry crowd in favor of the PCs, the DM will eventually allow the PCs time to find out what happened. The DM will give the PCs several days to mill about the town searching for possible clues as too who did it. Clues can be given out as there are reasons for the murder. All in all Judd was framed or was he. It could have been the distorted butcher or possibly the mayor who thinks Clara is cheating on him. Maybe it was the Commissar. The PCs will interact with the townsfolk as rumors are given. These maybe false or true. All in all the town has its secrets and its up to the DM to create the clues and the PCs to solve the puzzle.

October Challenge: Waycross


System: D&D 3.5e

Party: 4-6 ECL 8 characters

Key Plot Element
Waycross is being controlled by Xvart,
My suggestion for those not comfortable with Psionics, or in whose campaign settings Psionics do not exist, is to replace the Blue with one of the following creatures:

Kobold Sorcerer/Mindbender (Complete Arcane) <- as per Roi's suggestion
Svirfneblin Wizard (Enchanter)
Green Hag Sorceress (Enchantment spells)

I toyed with the idea of making this villain a Were-Raven, but decided that the extra Psion, Wizard, or Sorcerer levels are a better choice. I like the idea of a Were-Raven, though, as it was the original inspiration for this NPC.
a Blue (a Psionic Goblin) Psion who specializes in manipulation (Telepathy). Xvart is willing to send any meddlesome adventurers on their merry way, but he is intrigued at the idea of adding them to his growing number of thralls. He is quite paranoid that some of the townspeople know about him, but as he only controls
Twelve, to be precise
a handful thus far, he cannot act against anyone without raising suspicion.

Other Points of Intrigue
Mysterious Disappearance: Miles Leafear, a Half-Elf who had been Waycross’s foremost forest guide, disappeared about two weeks ago while on a routine hunting expedition into the Blackthorn Woods. Most townspeople are not concerned, but Tara Rivers, another Half-Elf and Miles’ cousin, is growing afraid of what might have happened to Miles. He has never been gone more than a few days, at least, not without sending his Hawk Companion to Tara with a message. Miles was captured by a new tribe of Centaurs who caught the Half-Elf “poaching on their lands” and intend to keep him prisoner. They can be convinced to let Miles go, perhaps, but the real question is “what drove the Centaurs into the woods in the first place?”
The Secret Dungeon: Unbeknownst to everyone in Waycross, there is a relatively large underground complex directly below the thorp. It can be accessed from two different places on the surface: the hidden cellar in Veronica’s inn (in which she stores various “questionable goods”) or by the town well (originally built as a secret escapeway and used as a well once settlers arrived in the area). The dungeon is large, but not vast, and has long been abandoned by intelligent creatures. Some vermin or mindless undead might be found in long-forgotten rooms, but the only real threat is from the
I would suggest an advanced Gelatinous Cube, of no less than 12 HD.
powerful ooze that sludges along the corridors.

Prominent Local Figures
Here are 4 prominent NPCs and a Leader. The other prominent NPC of this town is Xvart, the villain. However, I also included 5 other non-prominent NPCs to fill out the ranks a little with some named characters.
Tara Rivers: Half-Elf priestess. She takes care of the sick and injured of Waycross. She is a cousin of Miles Leafear, the local forest guide. She is not under the influence of Xvart, because he has some fear of her magic should he fail, nor is she really aware that something is wrong. She is more concerned about her cousin’s disappearance into the forest. She abhors violence and refuses to harm any of the townspeople, since they are being controlled and not acting of their own free will.
Silvermane: Dwarven smith. He is sure that something is afoot in Waycross, though he himself has not fallen under the influence of Xvart. He is the PCs’ most likely ally and has no problem knocking a few skulls together (non-lethally, if possible, of course).
Morgan Bolsterman: Human sheriff. He is under the influence of Xvart. However, he is happy as long as the crime remains under control, which it does because Xvart gets rid of troublemakers.
Veronica Darkbrewer: Human innkeeper. She was the first person in town of which Xvart gained control. She allows Xvart to live in her basement, where he hides in her hidden cellar (accessed via trapdoor).
Cobb Durndle: Human
Appointed by a King or Duke
Reeve or
Elected by the citizens
Mayor of Waycross. He is the “diplomat” that Xvart uses to attempt to send travelers on their way as quickly as possible, before reverting to Morgan Bolsterman and his deputy.

Other People
Della Miller: Human shopkeeper. She owns and runs Della’s Deals, a general store of sorts. She sells most adventuring goods under 40 gp, farming tools, and plenty of clothing and foodstuffs.
Della is not a prominent NPC. She runs the only real general store in town, but most transactions between townspeople are barter-based anyway, so Della is not that important a character. I included her only so that PCs who wish to chat with the shopkeeper can have a name without forcing the DM to come up with one on the spot.
Craig Helm: Human deputy. Craig is the only full-time guard in Waycross (not including Bolsterman) and has styled himself as the deputy.
Craig is also not a prominent NPC. While the locals certainly know who he is (being that there are so few of them) Morgan Bolsterman is in charge when it comes to the law. Craig is just a lackey.
Gordon Sawyer: Human carpenter. He is a very talented carpenter, one of the most skilled in the region. He is generally kind, but does not like to interfere in other people’s business. Unfortunately, he has recently fallen under the control of Xvart. Gordan was also the last person to see Miles before he disappeared into the forest.
Gordan and his son are not prominent NPCs either. I included them both as named characters so that players could have another couple of townspeople to speak to about the situation. I included Jordan so that they would have someone obvious to speak to if they thought there was something odd about Gordon.
Jordan Sawyer: Human apprentice. Son of Gordan, Jordan is his apprentice in the business, though he would rather be a smith like Silvermane.
Miles Leafear: Half-Elf guide. Miles is an expert forest guide who went into the forest on a routine hunting trip (usually takes 2-3 days) and has been missing for two weeks. He is also a cousin of Tara Rivers.
Again, not a prominent NPC. He is not likely to even participate in the Xvart plot unless the PCs rescue him first as part of the hook. Regardless, he lives at the edge of town and folks mostly ignore him unless they need to buy furs, fresh meat, or travel into the Blackthorn Woods.

Perhaps the PCs are led here by an ancient map, telling of an entrance to a hidden dungeon filled with treasures, or maybe Tara sent a message out asking for adventurers to help find her cousin. It could be that Xvart is in possession of some magical item needed by the party, and their divination magic led them here. Perhaps, however, they are simply traveling this direction and happen to pass through Waycross, as it is at a crossroads.
Read-Aloud TextThe sun begins to set as you approach a small thorp at a crossroads. You can see an inn at the other edge of the town, and decide that you will stop in to have a meal and see about getting a room for the night. The people of the village, of which there are few, stop what they are doing as you come into town to glance at you. They all look normal enough to you, but you realize that as adventurers, you must look rather strange to them.
Approaching the inn, called “The Dark Barrel” if the faded sign hanging above the door is to be believed, you are stopped by a man in a long leather coat over a shirt of chainmail. “You adventurin’ types best keep it nice. We don’t take to lawbreakers in this town. I’m the sheriff and if you start causin’ trouble you’ll be seein’ a lot more of me.” He lets you enter the inn, where you are greeted by an attractive human woman at the bar, “Welcome to Waycross, strangers. What can I get for you?”

Most of the people of Waycross are friendly enough, even to strangers. They are used to travelers, though the crossroads is not as well-traveled as it once was. Most people will do nothing more than glance at the PCs before returning to their jobs, but a few will go out of their way to interact with the PCs.
Morgan Bolsterman: As Waycross’s sheriff, he feels it is his duty to protect this community and its people from chaos and anarchy. Other than the warning he gives the PCs outside the Dark Barrel, he might also be seen following them around, to make sure he is on hand if they cause any trouble.
Xvart got Bolsterman early, shortly after Veronica. Where they were previously enemies, they now act like close friends. Some citizens (namely Silvermane) find this behavior odd. Xvart uses Bolsterman as an enforcer to bring in the citizens of Waycross a few at a time. He and Craig Helm can subdue them if it becomes necessary.
Craig Helm: He is Bolsterman’s right-hand man, and probably dislikes the PCs as a rule; after all, strangers tend to be troublemakers. However, he won’t act on his dislike without the sheriff, and is likely to spend his time at Waycross’s lock-up (almost never used) waiting for trouble.
Xvart gained control of Craig when he went snooping to see where Sheriff Bolsterman was going all of the time. Craig found out, but Xvart used his powers to control Craig's mind and convince him that everything was better this way, just like he did with Bolsterman.
Veronica Darkbrewer: She greets the PCs as they enter the only saloon in town. She should be an almost immediately likeable character, especially after Bolsterman harasses the PCs outside. She does try to justify the sheriff’s actions by explaining that they have had trouble with strangers in the past. However, the most important interaction she has with the PCs is to try to convince one of them to come down into the cellar in the middle of the night to “deal with a couple of rats” or some such excuse. In reality, this is a trap.
Veronica was the first person to be enslaved by Xvart. He stumbled into Waycros in the middle of the night, using his powers to hide himself from others. He was able to gain control of Veronica and forced her to help him hide and begin gaining control of others.
Tara Rivers: She is Waycross’s healer and priestess, and a follower of Elhonna. If the PCs seek healing or divine magic, they will be directed to Tara. She is quite worried about her cousin, Miles Leafear, who has been gone for a couple of weeks, much longer than he intended. It might be that the PCs were summoned to Waycross by a message from Tara looking for adventurers to help find her cousin.
She has been too worried about her cousin to notice much aberrant behavior in the townsfolk. If the PCs find out and explain the situation to her, she will shelter them and aid them, but she will not attack the people of Waycross, mind-controlled or not.
Cobb Durndle: After a night at the Dark Barrel, Cobb Durndle, the leader of Waycross, will seek out the PCs and introduce himself. He knows that travelers are good for the town as they bring in more gold and silver, even if it is just a little. However, he also knows that strangers can bring trouble with them or cause trouble simply by being around. Once it is clear that the PCs have no pressing business in Waycross (if they are just passing through, for example) Cobb will do everything in his power to shoo them along.
If it becomes clear that the PCs are too powerful for Xvart to enslave or charm, it will use Cobb to try to send them on their way. It is not foolish enough to go after prospects that are out of its reach.
Silvermane: As one of the few non-humans in town, Silvermane often feels like an outsider. Normally, this does not bother him, as he tends to prefer working alone. Recently, however, things have taken a turn for the weird. People who have long been enemies are acting as though they are close friends (i.e. Veronica Darkbrewer and Morgan Bolsterman). The most important interaction that Silvermane will have with the PCs is his visit before they take their leave. He will arrive just after dawn, knocking on their door. He will explain that things have become strange in town and ask the PCs to look around and speak to him before the leave.
Xvart attempted to gain control of Silvermane soon after its arrival, but it failed. Silvermane felt the intrusion into his mind, but was unsure what to make of it after he repelled it. He has told no one about this strange event, but he has begun wearing thin, lead helmet at all times. Silvermane is more than willing to (non-lethally) crack some skulls together to stop Xvart.
Plot Execution
The PCs involvement with Xvart can come from one of three interactions.
  1. Veronica Darkbrewer will lead one of the PCs (whichever one entered in the heaviest armor, but preferably not a Dwarf or Elf) to the cellar of the Dark Barrel, claiming that there are a few rats that she needs taken care of in return for some
    Could be anything from a few gold pieces to a stiff drink to some level of implied intimacy, depending on the player, the PC, and the GM.
    “compensation.” This is when Xvart will attempt to gain control of a party member from his secret hiding spot (peeking through a small hole to gain line of sight). If it fails, Veronica will hold up her end of the bargain, as there are a few small rats in the cellar.
  2. Silvermane will visit the PCs in the inn, just after dawn, and ask them for help. He explains that things in Waycross have become strange, using the relationship between Veronica and Bolsterman as an example (formerly opposed, now it seems as though they are friends). He asks the PCs to look around town and come to his smithy before they leave, hoping that they will be able to set things right.
  3. Cobb Durndle is eager to get the PCs out of Waycross once they have made whatever purchases they intend to make and done whatever business needed doing (perhaps the recovery of Miles Leafear). In fact, it should appear that the leader of the small thorp is a little too eager to get the PCs on their way.

PC Investigation
Any significant investigation into the actions of people under the control of Xvart should reveal the following:
  • Gather Information DC 13 – Has been going about his/her job normally.
  • Gather Information DC 18 – Has been acting slightly strangely of late.
  • Gather Information DC 26 – This person disappeared for some length of time and when they returned their personality was noticeably different.

As not all of the townsfolk of Waycross are under the control of Xvart (only 12 are) the PCs are likely to investigate at least one or two NPCs who are being controlled. In which case, change the final Gather Information to this:
Gather Information DC 22 – This person is still acting of his or her own will.

That being said, a check of 18 may still reveal that they have been acting strange of late (notably Silvermane and Tara Rivers have not been acting normally, for reasons already given). Here are some reasons that some other non mind-controlled NPCs might be acting strangely:
  • She is pregnant.
  • He/she is in the first stages of the flu or some similar common illness.
  • A friend/loved one recently passed away, and he/she found out in a letter.
  • A relationship that he/she was in has ended.
  • His/her family member is under the control of Xvart, affecting this NPC's behavior.

The other way to determine if an NPC is under the control of Xvart is to confront them directly and try to assess it in a short conversation (1 minute). If so, the PC must make a Sense Motive check:
  • Sense Motive DC 15 – This NPC is acting normally.
  • Sense Motive DC 20 – This NPC is acting strangely of late.
  • Sense Motive DC 25 – This NPC is under the influence of another’s will (if true), or this NPC is acting of his or her own will.

Encounter: EL 9-11
Given three different opportunities, it is likely that the PCs are going to figure out that something is up in Waycross. If Xvart becomes aware of this (through one of his thralls) he will gather his forces together in the cellar of the Dark Barrel and set a trap, waiting for the PCs to come or, if necessary, using Veronica Darkbrewer (or perhaps some other NPC if the PCs discovered that Veronica is controlled) to lure the PCs into the cellar. There, Xvart and his twelve thralls will be waiting.
  • Xvart CE Blue Psion (Telepath)
    Depending on whether you want to get into Psionic Dominate, power augmentation, etc. I prefer the idea that Xvart is using a unique combination of Charm, Suggestion, etc. to make thralls follow his commands by putting them in terms that make them seem desirable anyway.
  • Veronica Darkbrewer CE Human
    I would go Rogue here, maybe a level of Fighter (Thug variant). However, go with what seems best to you.
    Shady Innkeeper (3-5 class levels)
  • Morgan Bolsterman LN Human
    I lean towards Fighter instinctively, but an Urban Ranger would be great, and a Knight would not be too bad, either.
    Sheriff (2-4 class levels)
  • Craig Helm LN Human
    I would definitely stick with something simple here. Probably just a Fighter.
    Deputy (2-3 class levels)
  • Cobb Durndle TN Human
    While I am tempted to just throw him a few levels of Aristocrat, I would rather make him a Bard, a Rogue (with social skills), or even a multi-classed Cleric (probably with Bard or Rogue as the other level or two). It depends on hwo much magic you want flying around in the battle.
    Leader (2-3 class levels)
  • Gordan Sawyer CN Human
    I would go with a couple of levels of Expert, maybe throw in a level of Warrior, too.
    Carpenter (2-4 NPC levels)
  • 3 TN Human Warriors (2-3 levels)
  • 3 TN Human Commoners (2-3 levels)
  • 1 CN Human
    This character could easily be ditched, if you went with a Bard of Cleric for one of the other NPCs, otherwise I would keep it. Also, I declined to describe this NPC, mostly so I could avoid making him or her prominent (which an adept very well could be).
    Adept (2-3 levels)

Xvart uses his thralls as living shields, using powers like share pain to force his weakest thralls to protect him however they can. Once combat begins, an eventuality for which Xvart should be prepared unless the PCs are quite clever and stealthy, he attempts to disable the PCs. He plans not to kill the PCs, but to capture them and bring them under his control as well. After all, a party of mentally manipulated adventurers would be quite useful to an aspiring villain.
Morgan is Xvart’s personal bodyguard, and will not leave his side during combat.
Veronica (if she is not pretending to be captured) will generally fight smart, not hard, using ranged attacks and flanking.
Craig leads the 3 Warriors in engaging the PCs in melee combat, prepared to use a pair of manacles on any PC that is disabled by Xvart or otherwise knocked unconscious.
Gordan Sawyer and the 3 Commoners stand to either side of Xvart and use Aid Another actions to increase their master’s AC, as well as serving as subjects for the share pain power.
The single adept (which I left unnamed) stands behind Xvart and uses healing and minor buff spells on his or her master.

After the combat is finished, assuming that the PCs were successful in defeating Xvart, the enthralled townspeople should return to normal (even if Xvart is not killed, only beaten unconscious). Xvart has a small treasury, consisting mostly of a few magical items and a small sack filled with gems and coins (this sack his in the hidden area in Veronica’s cellar that also has the trapdoor leading into the dungeon below Waycross).

The people of Waycross are all extremely grateful for being rescued by the PCs, even if some casualties were inflicted. They might decide to throw a short feast in honor of the PCs (depending on how much the PCs got to know the people and how kind they were) or simply honor them by gathering together to thank them.

The adventure does not necessarily end there, however. The PCs may have discovered the secret dungeon below Waycross, and may even unwittingly have given the monsters within a chance to escape into the town and cause havoc if they are not all defeated. Additionally, Miles Leafear has disappeared into the nearby Blackthorn Woods and has not been seen in nearly two weeks.

If I may interject, Dark, I would like to add this. Should Xvart become a sorcerer, I would highly recommend taking levels into the PrC Mindbender, found in the Complete Arcane. I think it'd fit this quite well, and you'd be able to get at least 1 level of that.

Originally Posted by Roi View Post
If I may interject, Dark, I would like to add this. Should Xvart become a sorcerer, I would highly recommend taking levels into the PrC Mindbender, found in the Complete Arcane. I think it'd fit this quite well, and you'd be able to get at least 1 level of that.
Indeed. I thought there was an appropriate PrC somewhere (not counting Thrallherd, which is a monstrous PrC with relatively high requirements, I think).

Excellently written and detailed, Dark. Everything seems quite logical and the encounter looks tight as well. One concern though would be the cellar hook. I think a "kill some rats in my cellar" trap would be far more fitting for a group a level 1's, not decently high level adventurers. Surely the characters would be immediately skeptical of Veronica when she asks this, especially if they had any hint whatsoever of people acting strangely in town. I mean, why hasn't she been able to find anyone else in town to kill the rats for her? Commoners could surely do that.

I'd recommend a different hook for the trap. Maybe a thrall, another shopkeeper, complains to the players that she thinks Veronica is smuggling illegal goods on the side (or something along those lines). The shopkeeper pays the party to steathily follow Veronica after she closes shop and see where she goes. This is all part of Xvart's plan -- who would suspect that the suspicious / jealous shopkeeper AND Veronica are both pawns of the same BBEG? The party tails Veronica, she slips into a building, the party follows, bam ambush!

Originally Posted by Delandel View Post
Excellently written and detailed, Dark. Everything seems quite logical and the encounter looks tight as well.
Thank you very kindly.

One concern though would be the cellar hook. I think a "kill some rats in my cellar" trap would be far more fitting for a group a level 1's, not decently high level adventurers. Surely the characters would be immediately skeptical of Veronica when she asks this, especially if they had any hint whatsoever of people acting strangely in town. I mean, why hasn't she been able to find anyone else in town to kill the rats for her? Commoners could surely do that.

I'd recommend a different hook for the trap. Maybe a thrall, another shopkeeper, complains to the players that she thinks Veronica is smuggling illegal goods on the side (or something along those lines). The shopkeeper pays the party to steathily follow Veronica after she closes shop and see where she goes. This is all part of Xvart's plan -- who would suspect that the suspicious / jealous shopkeeper AND Veronica are both pawns of the same BBEG? The party tails Veronica, she slips into a building, the party follows, bam ambush!
Hmm... interesting. My initial idea with the "follow me into the cellar" plan was that only one PC would do so, but having taken another look at it, I think that works poorly on several levels:
  1. No group of players is going to let themselves be separated like that, not without significantly railroading them into it.
  2. For the reasons you stated, "rats" are not a great hook. Maybe "black-furred rats the size of small dogs, with oversized fangs dripping with green venom," at which point, again, I have dragged the whole group into it.
  3. If by some chance it works, and only one character ventures into the cellar and becomes controlled, I have taken control of that character away from the player, which is not likely to be any fun for them, and more work for me.

I very much like your idea, about luring the PCs into the cellar and having Xvart and his whole team awaiting them. Perhaps Plot Execution point #1 should be removed, moving the other two points up, and adding this point to the list.

Plot ExecutionGordon Sawyer comes to the PCs during their stay in Waycross, and asks to speak with them alone. He asks them to help him. He suspects that something strange is going on in Veronica Darkbrewer's cellar. He would talk to Sheriff Bolsterman, but he has been acting strange recently, and Gordon is not sure if he may be in on the activity. He will gladly accompany the PCs, and take the blame if something goes wrong.

This should be the final attempt that the DM makes to get the PCs into the encounter, the other two points should lead up to this, and the PCs should have some idea of what to expect, and may even grab Silvermane to help them. Then the following change could be made to Gordon's entry in the Encounter section.

EncounterGordon Sawyer is likely to have led the PCs into this trap, and is thus standing behind them. He takes his first action to throw the bar on the door closed and ready an action to attack whoever tries to escape. If asked, he might claim that he is "trying to prevent the others from escaping into the village" but he will attack any PC that comes too close. Meanwhile, the 3 Commoners stand to either side of Xvart and use Aid Another actions to increase their masterís AC, as well as serving as subjects for the share pain power.

I am not going to add these into my post, however, since I don't think it is fair to count them into my entry. I added Roi's idea since it did not actually affect my entry, it was just aimed at helping DMs to customize it to their own campaigns. I have made a few edits to my post since then, mostly to clarify some vague points. But this change stems mostly from Delandel's idea, not from my own thoughts, and is a significant change to my entry. I am, however, going to change the Word file into which I originally typed and saved my entry.


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