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  1. #71
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Well I guess I need to share with y'all the most recent events of my Weds night campaign, where it looks like Sumiko's days of descending into evil might now be over.

    On our quest to find allies to help us prevent the appearance of the demon god in two years (game time), we went to a city that ended up being populated by lots of good orc monks + angels. They also had their own planar gate (to their dimension of heaven) there. We were trying to gain their help and maybe an army.

    Our group had a mix of alignments -- a few good, a neutral or two, and then two evils. One was Sumiko, who spiraled into it but projected as "pragmatic". The other was Tristan, the strix, who had been converted to Chaotic Evil when compulsed to release the demon lord of magic.

    We left Tristan in the brig as usual (because he's evil and can turn people against us by association) when we went to talk to the angels and ask for help. They were kind of stand-offish and skeptical, and Sumiko found them condescending and had trouble keeping her beak shut.

    After ten days of us improving the ship, hanging out, buying supplies, they came to our airship and demanded that everyone come off and give an account of who they were. So the group basically complied, but this made Sumiko bristle. (She has had bad experiences with angels. The last angel, in the soul gem she found, was difficult to deal with; and when she finally let him out, he was arrogant and insufferable.)

    Last, we marched out Tristan, who they immediately demanded destroy his holy symbol and that he be taken into their custody. The elf negotiating with them from our group said, "uh, no, he's in our custody," and the angel in charge there sic'ced the 20 monks surrounding our group on the elf and Tristan. They were grappled effectively and the rest of us were threatened within that closing circle. Tristan was struggling (although not succeeding in casting anything or getting out, it was all pretty inept), so the angel cast Holy Smite on the group, which hurt Sumiko and some of the others who had not done anything wrong. (Police brutality!) Sumiko used her psionic wall-walking power to run up the side of the airship to the top deck, to get away; a ninja tried to hit her with a throwing star and missed.

    Down below, the angel was still smiting things and then walked up and hit Tristan over the head with the pommel of her sword. (Note that no one else was fighting, but even the elf spokesperson was being treated roughly -- they were going to drag he and the strix off to the tribunal, to be tried and punished.) Meanwhile, now Tristan was uttering about how his god was really going to give it to them.

    Furious at her friends being treated so unfairly, and being outraged by the angel's arrogance -- the arrogance of all angels -- Sumiko (unobserved atop the ship) grabbed the big soulstone out of her bag, the one she had never dared use before, the one that terrified her. The creature inside, the balor demon (essentially a balrog), spoke to her, and she was so angry that she channeled its power while letting the balor decide how that power would be made manifest. She was used to struggling for control with the angel, but that is because the angel and she were at cross-purposes; here, the balor was all too happy to comply. She rolled a 39 on UMD, and the balor's power poured forth from the stone.

    The angels and monks did not know what hit them. The balor uttered a horrific Blasphemy, some of the party took damage (the good members) but fortunately made their saves; yet many of the monks and even the angel failed theirs. Dead, blown away, turned to ash, whatever. Sludge. Even any who made their saves were paralyzed for minutes. It was the most horrific display of power -- the instant death even of powerful divine creatures -- that anyone had witnessed. It was a total WTF just happened moment, as no one down there even knew it was coming.

    Every survivor freaked out and scattered. The party threw anyone still paralyzed back on the ship. Some thought Tristan had done it (and he was still lying on the port below). The ones that suspected sumiko found her curled up in a ball in the corner of the deck, shaking. When they threatened her, Carnage (her gnome thrall) stepped into defend his mistress... and it was quickly clear to them that she was in no shape to do anything like that ever again. The decision was made to cast off. The balor stone was tossed on the deck below (let the angel leaders decide what to do with it) with Tristan, kind of pinning the crime on him, and the party sailed off to get as far out of Dodge as possible.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft
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  2. #72
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    But... Part 2.

    Tristan found the big soulstone in its protective casing sitting there. he could have flown off. he could have ignored it. He could have turned himself into the authorities and accepted judgment.

    Instead he touched the stone, and the balor spoke to him. "Release me, and I will reward you greatly!" Tristan, without much thought, said, "Hey, cool -- no problem! I hate this place anyway." So he starts taking a hammer to the stone. No one has yet arrived from the angel/monks to see what had happened. After a few rounds, he breaks the casing with all of its protective seals. Then he lifts the sphere and smashes it on the ground. There is a huge flash of light. Even the party members on the airship see it and FEEL it as the wave passes the boat; it's like a huge bright bomb just went off.

    Tristan finds himself standing next to a 12' tall balor demon. It grabs him and says it will have him watch the destruction of the city as a reward before it terminates him. What? The demon lied? Tristan is indignant. How rude! Demons can't be trusted, not ever! Even his own demon lord master must be a flake.

    The demon smacks the ground and Desecrates the area. The Desecration is a quarter mile wide and even encompasses the Gate. It creates a permanent zone where evil creatures are stronger and good creatures suffer. It then starts summoning crap and killing whatever is nearby. The entire city is under siege.

    In its distraction, Tristan manages to break free and plane shift. The angels could have followed him before, if he had tried that, but right now they have worse problems. He goes to the fey and converts back to their cause... but his time with the party is now over (because no one wants to adventure with him because of the crazy evil stuff he just did).

    On the airship, the party sees a huge circle of red flame leap up in the city they left, turning to sicking green fire (the Desecration). The entire city is going up. The battle there must be hot and fierce. At best, they can just hope that no one knows they were involved in that cataclysm.

    Sumiko is repentant as the enormity of what she just contributed to burns itself into her brain. All the rage and arrogance and bitterness, of toying with power, but this is where it ends up. One of the party takes her under his wing and promises that he'll help her change. And at the moment she is open to that.

    [I'm considering playing her in the OTHER direction now, with the alignment conversion... almost too good, annoyingly so. Lol. Whatever would seem fair but also funny.]

    her story in this sense is kind of like Ged from "A Wizard in Earthsea":
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft
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  3. #73
    The Green Jolly Robin H.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    But... Part 2.

    Tristan found the big soulstone in its protective casing sitting there. he could have flown off. he could have ignored it. He could have turned himself into the authorities and accepted judgment.

    Instead he touched the stone, and the balor spoke to him. "Release me, and I will reward you greatly!" Tristan, without much thought, said, "Hey, cool -- no problem! I hate this place anyway." So he starts taking a hammer to the stone. No one has yet arrived from the angel/monks to see what had happened. After a few rounds, he breaks the casing with all of its protective seals. Then he lifts the sphere and smashes it on the ground. There is a huge flash of light. Even the party members on the airship see it and FEEL it as the wave passes the boat; it's like a huge bright bomb just went off.

    Tristan finds himself standing next to a 12' tall balor demon. It grabs him and says it will have him watch the destruction of the city as a reward before it terminates him. What? The demon lied? Tristan is indignant. How rude! Demons can't be trusted, not ever! Even his own demon lord master must be a flake.

    The demon smacks the ground and Desecrates the area. The Desecration is a quarter mile wide and even encompasses the Gate. It creates a permanent zone where evil creatures are stronger and good creatures suffer. It then starts summoning crap and killing whatever is nearby. The entire city is under siege.

    In its distraction, Tristan manages to break free and plane shift. The angels could have followed him before, if he had tried that, but right now they have worse problems. He goes to the fey and converts back to their cause... but his time with the party is now over (because no one wants to adventure with him because of the crazy evil stuff he just did).

    On the airship, the party sees a huge circle of red flame leap up in the city they left, turning to sicking green fire (the Desecration). The entire city is going up. The battle there must be hot and fierce. At best, they can just hope that no one knows they were involved in that cataclysm.

    Sumiko is repentant as the enormity of what she just contributed to burns itself into her brain. All the rage and arrogance and bitterness, of toying with power, but this is where it ends up. One of the party takes her under his wing and promises that he'll help her change. And at the moment she is open to that.

    [I'm considering playing her in the OTHER direction now, with the alignment conversion... almost too good, annoyingly so. Lol. Whatever would seem fair but also funny.]

    her story in this sense is kind of like Ged from "A Wizard in Earthsea":
    this makes me want to buy the new d&d game on steam. The new dragon age...
    "i shut the door and in the morning
    it was open
    -the end"




    Olemn slammed his hammer and from the sparks on the metal of his anvil came the spheres of the heavens.

    Sayrah blew life into the spheres and they moved. From her wheel she weaved the names of people in to mystery.

  4. #74
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Typical yank... Locals annoy you so you drop a nuke... I don't know. What has become of diplomacy these days..
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  5. #75
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Typical yank... Locals annoy you so you drop a nuke... I don't know. What has become of diplomacy these days..
    My diplomacy score sucked (give me bluff or intimidate instead), and the party diplomats had made no headway.

    "I'd say diplomacy has failed." ~Avatar
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #76
    Senior Member Dannik's Avatar
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    Wow, amazing stuff!!
    I missed so much....



    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    That's a great story! And very true to evil -- "I'm not evil, I'm pragmatic."
    yes! I find that evil is more interesting when it grows out of real circumstances. When it starts as justified and embraceable, and grows slowly into something more sinister.

    For instance- our fighter ("Robert Blackhaven")'s family and home was massacred by his brother in a coup, with the use of a time-traveling crown. We rallied behind Robert and took revenge, but he was still not satisfied. He started a war to oust the widespread corruption from the realm, and gain control of the throne. We continued to back him, and a terrible war ensued - and the world fell deeper and deeper into chaos and ruin and hellfire.
    In the end we stormed the throne room, and we all sacrificed ourselves to give Robert an opening to take the time-travel-crown. He took it, but he disappeared into time - and left us to awaken in a bleak ruined wasteland world of ash.
    Now we are in an alternate horrible reality - where Robert is a mad god that is 10,000+ years old, sowing nightmares across the land.
    (Robert became a NPC, and our friend playing him rolled a new character.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    [I'm considering playing her in the OTHER direction now, with the alignment conversion... almost too good, annoyingly so. Lol. Whatever would seem fair but also funny.]
    yes, I am into that. I am into the development/growth of characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    My diplomacy score sucked (give me bluff or intimidate instead),
    I always take diplomacy/negotiation over bluffing and intimidation. I can't help but be earnest, and always try to talk my way out of everything.
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  7. #77
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannik View Post
    yes! I find that evil is more interesting when it grows out of real circumstances. When it starts as justified and embraceable, and grows slowly into something more sinister.
    Yeah. My character started as Neutral and "drifted" into it because of the forces we were having to confront -- she explored darker knowledge and was slowly corrupted, and it meshed with her childhood angers and her own ego to the point where she was difficult to deal with.

    This was a taste of "real evil" though -- no more games -- and she realized she was messing with things far beyond her control. There is no way she wants to see things like this unleashed now upon the world, having tasted them firsthand.

    For instance- our fighter ("Robert Blackhaven")'s family and home was massacred by his brother in a coup, with the use of a time-traveling crown. We rallied behind Robert and took revenge, but he was still not satisfied. He started a war to oust the widespread corruption from the realm, and gain control of the throne. We continued to back him, and a terrible war ensued - and the world fell deeper and deeper into chaos and ruin and hellfire.
    In the end we stormed the throne room, and we all sacrificed ourselves to give Robert an opening to take the time-travel-crown. He took it, but he disappeared into time - and left us to awaken in a bleak ruined wasteland world of ash.
    Now we are in an alternate horrible reality - where Robert is a mad god that is 10,000+ years old, sowing nightmares across the land.
    (Robert became a NPC, and our friend playing him rolled a new character.)
    Wow. That's pretty cool. I mean, if you're not a PC and have to live in that wasteland. But yes, I love how the story kind of writes itself, if you try to remain in character for what's happening and the choices you've made. OOC, I didn't want to use the balor stone, but in character, she honestly would have done it based on her entire past, soooo... now the aftermath. So what are your characters there doing now, if you're still playing that?



    I always take diplomacy/negotiation over bluffing and intimidation. I can't help but be earnest, and always try to talk my way out of everything.
    Bluff is good for that too.

    I actually make all of my characters different, on purpose. I want to understand the full range of game mechanics better, and I want to explore a new persona as well. I do kind of have a penchant for "fast" characters versus strong or magical, but basically with personality I try to find something in each character I make that I can identify with. Here, for example, Sumiko feels like a loner; and she also is kind of the annoying "know it all" and believes she's smarter than everyone else. I reject that for myself IRL, but I do understand it, so it gives me an "in" to her and I know how to play her.

    I never really play lawful good, but I was thinking about that next time out just to mix things up.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #78
    Senior Member Dannik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yeah. My character started as Neutral and "drifted" into it because of the forces we were having to confront -- she explored darker knowledge and was slowly corrupted, and it meshed with her childhood angers and her own ego to the point where she was difficult to deal with.
    yes! I find that a much more engaging antagonist. I am very attracted to the idea that an horrific "irredeemable" villain is justified and heroic in their own mind, and has a path that is very sympathetic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    This was a taste of "real evil" though -- no more games -- and she realized she was messing with things far beyond her control. There is no way she wants to see things like this unleashed now upon the world, having tasted them firsthand.
    That is the underlying drive in my current Star-Wars RPG :
    that a person's true self will out -
    Our "hard-hearted" brutally-pragmatic Mercenary has actually proven to be very soft-hearted and tender and protective,
    our "easy-going" "nonchalant" Pilot is actually a hotheaded impulsive time-bomb of intransigent purpose,
    our "by-the-book" high-minded emotionally-detached police-officer is becoming increasingly vengeful and imperious and tyrannical.

    and When faced with dire life-changing morality, one will express their true self.
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  9. #79
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannik View Post
    That is the underlying drive in my current Star-Wars RPG :
    that a person's true self will out -
    Our "hard-hearted" brutally-pragmatic Mercenary has actually proven to be very soft-hearted and tender and protective,
    our "easy-going" "nonchalant" Pilot is actually a hotheaded impulsive time-bomb of intransigent purpose,
    our "by-the-book" high-minded emotionally-detached police-officer is becoming increasingly vengeful and imperious and tyrannical.

    and When faced with dire life-changing morality, one will express their true self.
    yes yes yes!

    That's the thing -- the cleric who the party bumped last night (because it didn't make sense for the group to go anywhere with him) -- when confronted with evil, he unleashed it purposefully on the world. When Sumiko experienced it, despite all her dalliances with evil... she could have gone either way and chose to reject it.

    These situations reveal a character for who they are deep down.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #80
    Senior Member Dannik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    That's the thing -- the cleric who the party bumped last night (because it didn't make sense for the group to go anywhere with him) -- when confronted with evil, he unleashed it purposefully on the world. When Sumiko experienced it, despite all her dalliances with evil... she could have gone either way and chose to reject it.

    These situations reveal a character for who they are deep down.
    yes! I think characters have an intrinsic morality -
    and when your party is pushed to their moral limits, they may express themselves in unexpected ways... and that can be a major and exciting focus of your plot and relationships going forward.
    And if that Revelation is incongruent with how your character has acted in the past...

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