After running into Ian Darksword entirely by accident (Guard Frinko will back me up on this!), he agreed to help us run through a few foundries this week. Bringing some much-needed insight into Forgotten Realms lore to our lore-less duo :)
The Redcap Snatchers by @hustin1
Who doesn’t still wake up in cold sweats with “WITHER YOUR LIMBS!” ringing in their ears after finishing that Sharandar campaign? I know I sure do. It’s why I hired a powrie companion to follow me around, hoping that familiarity and the sudden draining of all my action points at random times will dull the pain.
It was with a little trepidation that we accepted the quest to go see why those little Redcaps were still dying in such numbers, long after adventurers had moved on to killing purple-adorned kobolds in more lucrative zones.
Because — just what sort of life are we giving back to these malicious little fiends? It’s like saving a cockroach nest from a nest of hungry birds. Whoever’s taking these redcaps is probably doing those Sharandar elves a solid. But, for some reason, they’re growing concerned.
Kasul, Ian and I set out to find the problem and fix it, so we could just turn around and kill them in vast numbers once again.
Nobleman Butthead sent us to a small Fae village well off the beaten path where we found the Redcaps in a panic — ‘twas goblins! We want to kill goblins, even more than redcaps, right?
We sure did!
The redcaps were hilarious, the maps custom, the story — well, it’s a story about saving one group of pests from another group of pests, so that’s it. There was a lot of running back and forth that none of us really enjoyed that much. And with all these custom maps, there didn’t seem much reason to have it. That was probably the only flaw in this quest. Kasul and I both gave it four stars. Not sure about Ian’s rating.
Pros: Surprisingly good writing, characters, and maps. Adjustable difficulty in spots.
Cons: Lots of running. Third map is particularly bad with this.
Skullport (Trial By Fire) by @redrickking
Skullport, Ian Darksword told us, is a city in the Underdark, deep beneath Waterdeep, which, I guess, makes the river that flows past Skullport, Waterdeeper…..
Seriously? Nobody? Fine.
A particularly inept pickpocket accidentally placed a note INTO our pockets while we were handing a quest in to Sergeant Knox. Following the directions in the note, we made our way to Next Map, a small trading establishment with a direct connection to Skullport in its basement. Despite free access to this portal, the proprietor, “Arr Bromwin Greenglade”, has never once been to Skullport. However, via mysterious means, the mayor of Skullport has indicated to her that he wants to meet with us, so we head into the basement and soon find ourselves in the underground metropolis of Skullport.
The author considers the sparkly trail a crutch that, besides, doesn’t work in a completely hand-crafted map such as Skullport. Most of the challenge in this quest lies in figuring out where to go.
The actual plot deals with collecting components in order to help some dwarves re-open the Moonstone Mine, which forms the economic backbone of Skullport. Mayor Nillsing feels we could help. Because… Skullport is a major center of smuggling and filled with dark magic and generally evil stuff.
Well, we saved all those evil redcaps. I guess the Mayor must think that we have no moral objections to ANYTHING anymore.
The maps were the real high point of this adventure. Unfortunately, the “wall of text” dialogs, full of run-on-sentences and scarce on punctuation, were difficult to read. NPCs who start their sentences with a conversational “Arr” just got a chuckle from us. Kasul and I gave it three stars. Ian agreed that the maps were amazing. As our resident Forgotten Realms loremaster, he would know.
This quest is followed by two others that expand on the story of the Sword Coast’s most mysterious city.
Pros: Great maps, a real explorer’s quest.
Cons: Dialog is hard to read.
Never all in One Basket by @qualinaar
Alrica, the Pie & Bread Lady in the Seven Suns market, is in a panic because her precious black dragon eggs were stolen from her caravan in the deadly Brachenfell Fen. Could dragon cultists have taken them? It’s up to us to get them back because….. the world needs more black dragons? Or something?
Why are we continually helping the bad guys lately?
Alrica mentions that the caravan had a sole survivor.
FRINKO!!! CURSE YOU!!! The ONE TIME he gets off his duff and leaves the city, he bungles the whole thing up.
Frinko brings us to the Fen, then scurries like a scared little redcap back to his do-nothing post in Neverwinter.
What follows is a fairly straightforward romp that ends abruptly. Kasul enjoyed playing it, I was hoping for a little more than I got. Between us, we gave the quest 2.5 stars. There wasn’t really anything wrong with it. It was just a short adventure with a little story, a little combat, and Guard Frinko.
Pros: Perfectly serviceable quest.
Cons: Fairly short.
Pt 1: Answer the Raven’s Call by @trishani
The first quest in the “Threads of Fate” campaign, though there is no follow-up quest. This quest was featured a year and a half ago; we opted to play the original, mindful of the issues we had with an undead featured quest that had been killed by foundry changes yet couldn’t die because it had been featured.
A young girl has been attacked by a pack of werewolves, and will soon succumb to their dark curse. The third quest in as many weeks that doesn’t know that lycanthropy is hereditary in Forgotten Realms. This is the ONE PIECE of Forgotten Realms lore I know, and gosh darnit, I’m going to bring it up every time I can.
A luckily nearby orc shaman is willing to help; all we really need to do is to kill the werewolf pack leader and poof! She’s better! So, like vampires now? Maybe? Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to kill the werewolf leader, because we’re not strong enough.
It’s at this point that I felt we should be given a chance to fight the werewolf leader and be defeated, and THEN go on a quest to become stronger to meet and beat him (or her, who can tell) and save the girl. But, the orc sized us up, pronounced us weak, and sent us on a quest to make a potion and get the blessing of a spirit raven in the spirit planes.
And… it’s at THIS point that I want it explained why, if ghosts are ghosts in the material plane, would they still be ghosts in their home plane, the spirit plane? Not sure what lore says about that. Seems to me they’d be substantial in the spirit plane. Anyway, maybe it was someone who died in the spirit plane, because we discover at least one ghost there whose grave is right there, in the spirit plane — and it had been robbed! By adventurers! Who were selling the gear in a cozy little market there in the spirit plane! Capitalism WILL follow you into the afterlife, it’s clear.
Anyway. The maps were decent, with a few moving parts. The plot was fairly linear. We went with the hard mode when we had a choice, but didn’t really feel challenged by any of the combat. Combat, though, wasn’t really the point. Kasul and I both gave it four stars.
Pros: Nice maps, custom encounters, and characters
Cons: The story was a little weak. Was weird when the orc shaman cursed by Veeshan’s breath. Isn’t Veeshan… EverQuest? Maybe this was actually a “Pro” ;-)
Thanks again to Ian Darksword for accompanying us Monday night!