Exploring Beneath Tashal

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Exploring Beneath Tashal

#1 Post by Nightly Knight » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:20 am

I'm sure a lot of you have done this or thought of doing it. My players recently told me that they'd like to go hunting for the Navehan cult in Tashal by exploring underground after their characters talked to Sir Haldare Venera and Sir Koris Harabor about the problem. Here's what they proposed:

1. They want to talk to the Lia-Kavair about it and see if they can provide support to them in exchange for making sure the Lia-Kavair leave them and their stuff alone. The PCs found out that Halime of Falesh is the rumoured guildmaster and know he is the owner of the Spurs, though they don't yet know about the connection to Galeopa's Feast or any other such locations. However the PCs also accidentally ran into a kidnapping operation earlier and killed two of his men. Following this one of the PCs nailed the head of a pig to the doors of The Spurs. Does it seem reasonable that Halime would agree to make peace in exchange for this offer, or would he just want revenge?

2. If they cannot get in through the assistance of the Lia-Kavair they were just going to go down one of the wells and search through the area until they found something interesting, old fashioned dungeon style.


Anyway that's our setup, but are there any tips or suggestions or articles I could be using?

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#2 Post by pfstrack » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:53 am

Yikes that's dangerous.

OK, Halime probably won't want to directly deal with the PCs, especially since they have contacts with the city rulers. He is going to do his best to deflect them away from his operations. If I were him, I would claim ignorance of the Nahevans, and point the PCs towards one of the sewer entrances where there were "mysterious comings and goings".

Then I would tip off the Navehans in the hope that they would slaughter the fools.

I think the Tashal and Naveh articles have everything you need for the scenario. Bear in mind that even without Halime's tip off, the Navehans are likely to learn what the PCs are up to before they reach the temple, and will probably use hit and run tactics to whittle them down in the tunnels. The PCs will be fighting against poisoned sneak attacks by expert assassins who know the tunnels much better than they do.

I hope they have some serious magic on their side.

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#3 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:05 am

I tend to find dripping and distant scream sound effects cone in handy :)

I think revenge is likely, but will cone in the form of co-operation....help withdrawn once in a navehan trap filled sewer is assistance little desired.

I have found that actually playing miniature stylee through actual plans can be very laborious. As a solution, I developed a sewer network knowledge skill (for Coranan in my game) and checked on it to see if players got lost whilst traversing the network....i normally abhor abstraction but it has worked surprisingly well.

However, this is for characters that are using the sewer system as subterranean highway to get from a to b to c to d in a secret and...ahem...labyrythine fashion...it might not suit for a 'go down and scour it' expedition...unless of course they get forced into running and dropping torches etc :)
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#4 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:07 am

Oh, and it is logical to check on rainfall and ergo water levels where apropos....
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#5 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:08 am

And oxygen and other gas levels....
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#6 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:09 am

And presence of diseases....
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#7 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:10 am

Also good to check elevation gradients for flow direction...if not already indicated....
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#8 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:12 am

And access and egress if not already noted...
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#9 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:14 am

Check out the ivashu article for a few nasty sewer like critters...the crocodile like miaracu (sp) and a piranha like one..(forget name) and of course the ubiquitous eye eating vlasta...
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#10 Post by MDMann » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:15 am

Interestingly I'm working on a years future history which includes confrontations in the tunnels and clipping the Navehans wings (though not wiping them out). I'm also playing in a Navehan campaign where all the pc's are temple members, though in Golotha.

I agree Halime is unlikely to aid the pc's against the Navehans. It's not in his interest and he'd simply tip the cult off as to their location. I'm sure he'd make peace. It's only a few low-level thugs. He'd make them pay for the pigs head insult (he might even agree with them how they could all dave face, or just accept a huge bribe) but it's not worth it to face off against the temple.

If they want aid beneath the city, they could approach ratcatchers or Masons (probably only the inspector of public works) who've worked the tunnels. To hunt Navehans both Haldare and Koris would send well armed men. They work well together and in my future history both start patrols beneath the city for various reasons. They're also completely clueless about conditions below the city.

For substantial, knowledgeable aid, they really need to approach the Ilvirans, who've been losing a war beneath the streets with the Navehans. It's not been one sided though and they inflicted significant damage with Ivashu before being penned back beneath their temple. They've been long enough that they've likely recovered the strength to try again and continue their holy mission beneath the surface. They won't need much persuasion.

I see the Navehans (in total darkness) striking from the shadows, leading an ambush and retreating down a trapped tunnel to attack again. If you actually want to hurt them, destroy, map or open their tunnels. Also crush temple physical temple.
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#11 Post by Rothesay » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:18 am

I can add much to what has already been said except to say that I agree.

Halime is not going to get involved in anything that would possibly bring the Navehans down on him. IMC, he has a very uneasy peace with them, which mostly means he stays out of their way. He absolutely would warn them if he sniffed out that the PCs were going after them. Further, the tunnels under the city are where the Navehans train against each other - they know them better than anyone else. Venturing down there is asking for casualties. (If you haven't, you should grab my Peonian Crypt - it has a tunnel entrance.)

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#12 Post by Targan » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:43 pm

Sounds literally suicidal. In the absence of the PCs themselves being top-tier stealth monsters or powerful arcanists I predict a TPK within the first session inside the tunnels.
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#13 Post by Nightly Knight » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:05 am

Well it's obviously dangerous, but surely that's the name of the game. After all every location has its dangers.

The party are very experienced and highly skilled. One of them has strong Ilvirian credentials. He was born to the Anoa but became a knight through his service, and is accompanied by a mad blind prophet of Ilvir and his acolyte, both of whom he is sworn protector to. So they will start out with Ilvirian support and information. The party includes a skilled spellcaster, a Laranian warrior priestess and and a highly skilled spy. They've been in very dangerous places before.

Having said that I'm not going to hold back on them. I'm planning on having a combination of Ivashu, corpse rats, Navehan traps and gulmorvin be down there. To say nothing of the Navehans themselves.

I agree with everyone's assessment: if they talk to Halime of Falesh or one of his lieutenants they will find a way to warn the Navehans they are coming and the Navehans will be ready for a serious attack. Regardless of what happens I will have him plotting his revenge.

Furthermore no one in the party knows about the secret temple in Dyer's Alley. The Ilvirians, I intend to depict, have old intelligence which is no longer reliable though it will give an idea at least of what to generally expect.

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#14 Post by MDMann » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:12 am

Funnily enough, there's not much of a Morgathian presence in Tashal (pHarn may vary), since the Navehans, Laranians and Ilvirans are so good at destroying them. One consequence of success could be an increase in the undead beneath the streets of Tashal.
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#15 Post by Derfman » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:08 am

If skilled NPCs are played the way they should be played this would be Suicide by Navehan cultist for the PCs unless they are insanely skilled and powerful.
Your pHarn may (and at times SHOULD) vary.

My habit as GM when PCs decide to go after something that I think should be WAY beyond them is to use my awesome GM super powers to make sure warnings happen (not necessarily warning from the Navehans, in fact, almost certainly not from them, but just make sure the PCs learn, one way or another, just how lethal a target they are looking it....)

If the PCs ignore the warnings, I often FAIL as GM and soften the target so I don't have to kill all the PCs. This is my biggest failure as a GM, a real difficulty killing all my players (On the flip side, I think one of my strengths is my habit of warning them when they are out of their league....)

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#16 Post by Nightly Knight » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:15 pm

Derfman wrote:If skilled NPCs are played the way they should be played this would be Suicide by Navehan cultist for the PCs unless they are insanely skilled and powerful.
Your pHarn may (and at times SHOULD) vary.

My habit as GM when PCs decide to go after something that I think should be WAY beyond them is to use my awesome GM super powers to make sure warnings happen (not necessarily warning from the Navehans, in fact, almost certainly not from them, but just make sure the PCs learn, one way or another, just how lethal a target they are looking it....)

If the PCs ignore the warnings, I often FAIL as GM and soften the target so I don't have to kill all the PCs. This is my biggest failure as a GM, a real difficulty killing all my players (On the flip side, I think one of my strengths is my habit of warning them when they are out of their league....)
I dunno man, some of my best adventures have been where that was risked. Like a good example is when my party underestimated a band of vikings and were shocked to realize they used intelligent tactics and fought ruthlessly against them and used the terrain to their advantage. Did it lose a PC's life as he realized that yes, a knight can be killed by several light foot clansmen using spears effectively? Sure. Did they learn from it? Yes. So I don't mind doing the same thing here. I intend to use the Navehans, the darkness and all that as effectively as I can. The thing is if my group win, they WIN, they've outsmarted me or been super lucky and deserve the victory.

What these guys have going for them is that they know that traps will exist, that it will be super dark and that native attackers and predators will be at an advantage. As they've honed their skills in character and out they learn more and more to be on the ball and work well together. They may end up getting a nasty taste of it and retreating, in which case they'll have to rethink what they hoped would happen and possibly even abandon the idea. We'll have to see.

I ran them earlier in a modified D&D adventure called The Rat Trap in an adventure in Quarelin, a bit less sewers than this one as they were working directly with a Lia-Kavair desperate for their aide as foreign wererats were taking over the Lia-Kavair of Quarelin. Initially requested to help the City Watch find out who "Gobbling Jack" the serial killer was, they stumbled onto this plot. Anyway hey took MAJOR casualties doing this. We're talking favourite NPCs slaughtered, PCs wounded and laid up forever,

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#17 Post by Leitchy » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:59 pm

Derfman wrote:If the PCs ignore the warnings, I often FAIL as GM and soften the target so I don't have to kill all the PCs. This is my biggest failure as a GM, a real difficulty killing all my players...)
I don't think this is a failure, to be honest. Seriously, I know how much I hate losing beloved PCs and I will not knowingly or deliberately go out of my way to even TRY to kill characters. I'll have difficult situations that are dangerous...that's OK. But the ONLY way that heroes die in any of my games is if there's a conscious decision by the player to sacrifice their character, or the player makes an incredibly stupid decision and sticks with it (which is kinda the same thing)...or the dice have been unendingly cruel. Otherwise, the hero lives because, well....HERO!

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#18 Post by Krazma » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:18 pm

Derfman wrote:This is my biggest failure as a GM, a real difficulty killing all my players
There have certainly been times where I felt like killing a player.
Assuming you meant player characters, though, I wouldn't see this as a failure. The death of a single PC, let alone the whole party, should always be significant to the storyline of any campaign. Not saying that PCs can't, or shouldn't, die; just that when they do, it ought to be consequential. If -- as GM -- I have to occasionally fudge a die roll to avoid a random (and meaningless) PC death, then I think that's well within the job description.

So, if the PCs persisted in going after an obviously superior foe, like a whole Navehan temple, they'd be more likely to end up captured and awaiting sacrifice than killed outright. Then, at least, they have a chance of escaping.

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#19 Post by Derfman » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:04 pm

My most fondly remembered games had a real sense of danger, and characters did die, sometimes mine.
I have hard time cultivating enough blood thirst as a GM.
I can count the number of PCs I've let die on one hand and have fingers left over.

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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#20 Post by Targan » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:31 pm

Try playing in one of WarFlail's campaigns. It's not a matter of whether your character will die, it's a question of how quickly and how horribly the demise will be.
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#21 Post by Peter the skald » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:47 pm

To those gm,s who lighten loads, fudge rolls, and out right bend time and space to save PC's....

Make sure that is what your players want. As a player, that is the last thing I want; and when it occurs it cheapens/ruins a game for me and i sulk for a considerable time. Then I engage in ridiculously dangerous behaviour because I can't die right? And then when the gm let's the pc die I get annoyed because of the arbitrary nature of rules fudging.

So, if I am playing your game, do not hide rolls, fudge rolls, or weaken challenges. It merely robs me of the opportunity to be heroic :)
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#22 Post by MDMann » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:16 pm

I often hide rolls, but kill 'em anyway. I do think a good crippling life limiting injury can be even more effective though.

Right PC Bob. Good news. You survived! Now that you have no arms what do you do next?

One possibility for captured pc's would be the ritual (whose name I'd need to confirm) where they're released and have to survive for 3 nights whilst being hunted by 3 temple sisters.
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#23 Post by Peter the skald » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:04 am

Returning from rant to topic in a way....

If you use invocations as per hm religion the Navehan ones are some of the best.... :)
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#24 Post by MDMann » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:20 am

As are the Ilviran ones. They provide a nice hard counter for a skilled cleric. Summoning friendly Ivashu and transforming into Ivashu can be brutally effective, though the Navehans have the advantage it's no cakewalk for them.
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Re: Exploring Beneath Tashal

#25 Post by Nightly Knight » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:50 am

BTW I wanted to run by some of the traps I have for down there.

1. Wire trap at the level of the forehead and ankles at some point where the Navehans will spook the PCs into moving rapidly that will snap up a pungi trap with sharp iron rusty poisoned spikes.

2. Poisoned spike trap that unleashes AFTER a collapsing door frame trap is disarmed.

3. A scythe blade trap at ankle/calf level when a pressure plate is stepped on

4. I want to use a Neo-Otyugh (AD&D) type monster as an Ivashu that is both a disposal system and warning for the Navehans, who regularly feed it and have a good relationship with it. It will warn them by a telepathic/empathic impulse of danger just beyond one of the secret doors into their tunnels. When this happens Navehan guards will help it fight advancing PCs using sniping of specialized crossbow bolts from the dark. Others will lie in wait in hidden alcoves and spring out with back stabbing attacks.

5. A simple nails on the board trap hidden under water or filth here and there, especially in areas where the Navehans manage to spook the PCs.

6. Weighted net trap with hooked fibers to make them painful if not wounding to grapple with.

7. Screams, gibbers, cries and shouts used to disorient them.

8. A Gytevsha summoned into the body of a sacrificed woman who will appear to be a hapless victim to be rescued only to attack viciously unexpectedly, idealy when a PC is alone with her.

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