Friday, March 21, 2008

A few notes on Trokair

Things I want to get down "on paper" about Trokair that I have been mulling over the last few days:

1. The game really wants a rumor table for players to roll on at the beginning. It helps suggest player-driven courses of inquiry and keeps me from herding them towards a specific encounter or goal (since part of the whole point of Trokair is that it is so versatile and adaptive).

2. Which group the players encounter on their first foray to Trokair depends on which path they take (which, in turn, would be influenced by the rumors they hear). Anyone entering by the shortest path will travel along the trade route and then head north as they pass by the city ruins. That is exactly where the bandits hang out and they are likely to find a few traps or even an ambush along the way. Players who travel through the foothills north of the forest are likely to encounter the orcs (although why you would approach the city ruins from that direction has so far eluded me). Finally, some players will want to trek through the woods from further east than the shortest path (perhaps starting at the Wanderer's Shrine after a tip from Yadri, since the road at that point curls south before coming back north at the shortest point). Such characters have a chance to encounter either/both the bandits or/and the orcs but most likely make it into the city without proper greeting. Their first NPC encounter would likely be with one of the necromancers (since their buildings stand out so much and because they spend more time traversing the sewers than either the orcs or the bandits).

3. Orcs and bandits can be encountered throughout the city ruins, both above ground and in the sewers (and, increasingly unlikely, further below). So too can the necromancers. In fact, some of the bandits or necromancers can be encountered in town between forays into the city (they need to buy stuff and keep up on the rumors too).

4. I really need to play up the intelligence of the humans and some of the orcs. The bandits are not going to throw their lives away on the players' swords after seeing that they are clearly outmatched. At the same time, I need to impress upon the players that having even as few as 5-10 crossbows aimed at you is a death sentence and not an inconvenience. It is only this that makes me feel d20 is not a particularly good system for my vision of Trokair.

5. Jhanzur can seal a door with his channeling (a rebuke undead attempt). A door so sealed requires either a sufficiently strong turn attempt, any old rebuke attempt, or a dispel magic effect (and possibly knock) to open. This allows me to seal off certain areas of the sewers and deeper until the characters are high enough level to overcome the seal or they befriend/negotiate passage with Father Quint.

6. I really need to copy over my notes from Venura before the boards disappear again. I have a lot of stuff there that I really do not want to lose (like the original spelling of Jhanzur's name, which I had to double-check for point 5 (although I did spell it right)).

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