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My Lost Mine of Phandelver Journey (As the DM)
The second attempt, I got ghosted by the entire group... that was unreal to say the least (but its roll20 this stuff... happens)
Now for the third attempt, it has been the best game I have ever had the pleasure to be the Dungeon Master of. All of the players are good and have great backstories that tie-in well to the world I have built... but I will focus on telling you guys about how I have run The Lost Mine of Phandelver (if you want to hear more about the players I can make a followup post)
Forst starters, every time I run a module I slot it into my homebrew world named Amvaril, a world that suffers constant apocalypses and hardships, this is where the premise of the adventure has been altered somewhat.
Andral Winterborn (originally sildar Hallwinter) has been struggling to bring a town on the frontier into Nox Alliance (A group of city-states consisting of Dawnmeadow, Dream Gate, and Nox... which are based on neverwinter, Baldur's Gate, and Waterdeep)
This town is called Fendelin, and if handled right the town could become a trading hub to eastern lands and the wastelands to the south. The land is rich in minerals and gemstones, as well as historical artifacts... but all of his agents he has sent to the town have either dissapeared or been rejected by the locals.
Meanwhile Gundren Rockseeker received his great grandfathers journal from his grandather. What rockseeker has learned is that his Great Grandfather was in part responsible for the disappearance of Fendris.
500 years ago, Fendris, the last of the Rassani attempted to establish a new kingdom in the region of Fendelin. Being the last of a great legacy of an ancient kingdom, Fendris' attempts could have led to a new golden age upon Amvaril.
Fendris built a great forge known as "the forge of spells" within a mine known as "dark echo cave", it was here that he wove miracles and attracted many followers... one day this all crumbled, and nobody is sure exactly what happened... that is until Gundren Rockseekers grandfather passed down the secret to him.
A force of Dwarves (with the odd orcish mercenary or two) raided Dark Echo cave and destroyed the fledgling empire. The motivations for this? The Dwarves and the Rassani have a loooong history, that is to much to get into here... so moving on.
Gundren Rockseeker gathered up his siblings and sent them to scout out the cave, while he approached the Nox Alliance to ask them for aid in his endeavor to find Dark Echo Cave and the Forge of Spells.
They directed him to Andral Winterborn... it was then that Andral Winterborn and Gundren Rockseeker decided to go all in together in this project. Andral and Gundren hired a bunch of Mercenaries, and worked out a deal with a trader in the town to help with the expedition.
Andral and Gundren went ahead of the group.
The mercenaries they hired to help with this expedition were of course the players. The players have been assigned to help guard the first caravan of supplies, alongside Andral Winterborns apprentices... 3 "Sleepless Knights" (stats are a guard)
Two caravans of supplies go up the triboar trail when they are ambushed by goblins, which between the Knights and the Players are quickly dispatched (no use getting the players killed in the first encounter, especially when half are new), soon the players learn that these goblins have abducted Gundren Rockseeker and Andral Winterborn.
So here is where its going to get a little less storytelling-ish, as I explain some of the changes I have made to the module in more strict mechanical terms.
See including the Sleepless Knights was not simply for flavor purposes, but a tactical move. The first fight is a bit tough for players and it helps soften that fight a bit... but also... Every time I have run this, and played in this module, the discussion of "WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE WAGONS" simply eats time in the module and its ANNNOOOYING especially when you are gone from the wagon for maybe 50 minutes.
The Sleepless Knights of course suggest that they guard the Wagons while the players follow the goblin trail. Which leads them to the goblin cave.
Klarg, the boss of the first cave in this module... was to much, he is a recipe for TPKs. Klarg has been replaced with an orc named Klarg, who uses a +1 flail (first magic item for the players), still a pretty tough opponent all things considered. The wolves have also been replaced with Jackals, except for Klargs pet wolf.
Unfortunately upon defeating the Orc and rescuing Andral Winterborn from this orc they learn that Gundren has been taken by someone named "The Black Rose" to "Cragmaw Castle"
Right now there is nothing that anyone can do about it. When they get to town, the situation in town is far worse than Andral Winterborn anticipated, the townmaster Harbin Wester refuses to see anyone or have any meetings with the Nox Alliance, and a group of bandits have taken up residence in the town. The town is hanging by a thread, and some of the towns people are angry that the work involving the Lost Mine of Fendris is not coming as soon as promise.
As well the only hope of finding Gundren rockseeker seems to be for them to access town records in hopes of finding information about castles or forts in the area, since they have no other leads.
Andral Winterborn hopes that by gaining the support of key members of the community that he can convince the Townmaster to join the nox alliance and officially sanction a garrison of Sleepless Knights, and allow them access to town records.
Andral tells the party this and hopes that they will help with this matter as they have more experience than his apprentices, and he has lost all of his gear. He offers to extend their contract on the expedition and provide bonus payouts for every task they help him complete around town.
Here is where I as the Dungeon Master tried to better integrate the missions around town with the overall story of the Lost Mine of Fendris.
The people that Andral singled out as important members of the community are Sister Garaele, Linene Graywind, Qelline Alderleaf, and Daran Edermath.
Linene Graywind is the master of the towns forge and owner of the blacksmith. She will support the Nox Alliance if the players rid the town of the Redbrands, as they have been harassing her to try and get her to make weapons for them... She does not like anything about them, and she will also offer her own reward for ridding the town of them.
Daran Edermath is a retired half-elf adventurer, a mystical knight (eldritch knight turned wizard in a sense) who lost his leg in battle and retired to a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere. Here he got married and took the name of his wife, and began a hobby where he delved deeper into his mystical knowledge... He is the towns de-facto wizard, he can identify stuff for the party, sell spell components and provide mystical knowledge... He doesnt know why people in town look up to him as much as they do, he doesnt need a lot done but he is worried about his grand niece (His human brothers granddaughter) who lives in town, she went to go check out a ruin to the north and he hasnt heard back from her.
Qelline Alderleaf is a halfling woman who runs the largest farm in town, and helps all other community members with their farming endeavors. She is a staple of the community and is well respected by everyone in town... she has a bit of an edge to her though, and greets the party with a crossbow drawn. She says she will think about it if they find her old friend Reidoth, who took off to thundertree on a pilgrimage some time ago, and get him to come back to town.
And last but not least, Sister Garaele of the Forgotten Star Cult. Of many of the apocalypses that Amvaril has suffered, the gods have seemingly abandoned the world, and after the gods abandoned the world... the Stars began to vanish from the sky, very slowly... one by one... The Forgotten Star Cult (yes they call themselves that) believes that each star is the domain of a god, and that by restoring the faiths of this world that they can bring the gods back. Sister Garaele is here to restore the Shrine of Luck, a shrine that is all that remains of a church that burned down 50 years ago in this town... She wants the group to find "Mother Agatha" the priest of the church who left town after the church burned.
And while its not bad to have a shady character, the way Harbin Wester is written means that all the players hatred towards them is just wasted breath... its unproductive and unfun hatred.
Halia thornton is a little to tied into the politics of the forgotten realms and is just unlikely for the characters to come across.... So I changed her to a member of the Redbrands who is trying to leave the gang and is hiding in the old mining exchange until she can skip town and get out. My players found her while looking for the Redbrands secret base, but if they had triggered the Redbrand encounter in town before this happened she would have approached them after... asking them for help to get her out of town, and willing to exchange info on the redbrands for help.
The in-game quest Halia gives was given to Linene Graywind instead, and has been made a more interesting character overall.
I also replaced the Nothic with a sscaled-down Minotaur skeleton called a "False Minotaur" which is a combination of cow and humanoid bones that has been constructed to look like a Minotaur.
See Iarno Albrek, after finding the necromatic fissure under the Tresender Manor... started to get a bit weird... He was sent to town by Andral Winterborn to build help build a militia for the townsfolk, but instead he found a source of necromatic magic and started getting delusions of grandeur. He made a deal with The Black Rose to aid her in her endeavors.
Also the players found Droop.
After defeating the Redbrands, the gang scattered and a few ex-members even joined the Sleepless. Andral Winterborn then set up in the basement of Tresender Manor... and Linene Graywind and him gave the players a fat paycheck, and she pledged her support to the nox alliance.
Nezzara, The Black Rose, an Agent of Dis (the High Elven empire, the capital of which is the megacity "Dis" encompasses the island of dis.) was sent to these lands to learn what she can of the Forge of Spells with the hopes of gathering enough information to recreate the forge... Securing the region for the empire is a secondary concern, but still on her list of priorities.
To this end she has been given a force of Elven spies and Knights to accompany her, but she doesnt want to risk her forces uncessesarily. So she recruits and orcish warband for her purposes, the Cragmaw Clan, now what could an Elvish mage have to offer a group of orcs you ask.
On Amvaril... orcs are Sterile, 150 years ago there was a great plague that destroyed the fertility of all male orcs. Thus the civilization is to be inherited by the half-orc progeny of the female half of the species... but also on Amvaril, orcs and half-orcs live a long time... they have a feature called "to angry to die" in which they live a number of years equal to their strength score + con score + half their dex score (this isnt modifier by the way), times their level (this is a bit of a WIP feature)
This is what lead to many orc warbands forming, the male orcs basically going on a rampage against the world out of sorrow and grief. Elves in particular were targeted because many orcs believe that the Elves unleashed this plague onto their people.
The former leader of the Cragmaw Clan, Brughor Axe-Biter is very old, and has given control of the clan to his son 150 year old son "Grol" and Nezzara made Grol an offer "swear loyalty to me, do as I say, and I will give your clan a cure"
So Grol made what could best be described as a... tough choice... and a wrong one, because even if she could cure them, she would not give them a cure. So grol sent out his goblin slaves under the command of Klarg to get Gundren Rockseeker, a person who had a map to Nezzaras goal.
This swearing of loyalty caused a bit of a schism in the Cragmaw Clan, while still a unified clan, many of the pure orcs began rallying around Brughor Axe-biter. Brughor did his best to trust his sons decisions, but was feeling very strongly that Nezzara was brainwashing him and taking advantage of him.
Brughor set up camp at Wyvern Tor to try and distance himself from the situation, but be nearby in the event things went south. But he still aided Nezzara when she asked, albeit reluctantly...
Now grol is not entirely stupid, he gave Nezzara the Map to Dark Echo Cave, but he didnt give her Gundren Rockseeker. See finding the cave was one thing, but re-activating the forge was another... and Gundren wasnt willing to talk to the orcs and give up that secret, and Grol wasnt willing to give Gundren up until he got the cure... So there was a heated debate and negotiation going on between Nezzara and the Cragmaw Clan.
REWIND TIME, because before Gundren Rockseeker was available, Nezzara was looking form information on Dark Echo cave by searching ruins in the area. It was at one of these ruins that the ancient spirit Netheril, one of Fendris' lieutenants, had possesed Iros Rey the niece of Daran Edermath... An ancient spirit Nezzara hoped to negotiate with for some information on Dark Echo Cave and the Forge of Spells. Instead Netheril just murdered all the orcs that Nezarra sent and turned them into zombies, then Netheril started building a skeleton army.
(this avenue of inquiry was promptly abandoned by Nezzara)
Players decide, with droop in tow, to continue doing tasks for the townspeople. They decide the best option is to search for Iros Rey, the niece of Daran Edermath... They find the Old Owl Tower, and find it crawling with Skeletons and zombie orcs.
There Iros Rey introduces herself as Netheril, Netheril offers their own deal, kill the orcs at "wyvern tor" and find someone known as Lorothel in the town of Conybery, and bring them to the old tower (Conybery is where the party was told that Mother Agatha lives by the way)
Iros Rey wants to recruit Lorothel into their army, and use the corpses of the Orcs at wyvern tor to produce more zombies.
The players decide instead to talk things through with the Orcs at Wyvern Tor, Brughor Axe-biter proves to be... unusually reasonable, things that have happened lately have tempered his agression. The players ask for his aid in in stopping Netheril, but explains.
"The Black Rose has intentions towards the spirit there, but the spirit has killed many of us already... I will provide a little bit of aid, but not all of us, I do not wish to anger the black rose as of yet"
So Brughor offers to let them take his youngest son with them, Gog... BUT WAIT? you ask? Arent Orcs sterile? The answer is yes... but sometimes pure orc men are a tiny bit fertile... just a tiiiiiiny bit...They learn this when their half-orc sons are born typically, this is how Brughors second son Targor bloodsword was born. So Brughor traveled home briefly and had a third child with an orc woman...
Problem is, these partially fertile half-orc men when they have a child with a pureblooded orc woman... the children come out... odd... This new breed of orc is known as an "Ogre"
So anyway, with the party dragging an ogre along, I double the number of skeletons under the control of Netheril, and the party has a ridiculously epic battle with four Orc zombies, 20 skeletons, and a ghost.
They free Iros Rey from the control of Netheril, and send her on her way home. And with that Daran Edermath has pledged his support to the Nox Alliance.
Andral is deeply worried about his friend Gundren Rockseeker at this point. the party agrees, and droop explains "if we can find the area the castle is in, I can find the castle I have been there), but they head in a bit of a round about path so they can check out Conybery to find Mother Agatha first.
(its only a little bit out of the way)
The town of Conybery is a wreck, it was abandoned along with many towns in the area when Mt. Hothen erupted roughly 50 years ago (it was this same eruption that caused the fire that burned down the church in town, and the destruction of the thundertree... more on the thundertree later)
The group finds the only intact house in town, and the house is unusually dark. Inside weeping by the fireplace is a middle aged halfling woman, Mother Agatha... she is unresponsive to the party. Then enters an unusually handsome man, who says his name is "lorothel" he explains that "my wife is doing fine, you can leave now" but after some persuasion by the party Mother Agatha is able to eek out one word
Lorothel reveals himself to be an Incubus, and three shadows under his control reveal themselves. Thankfully he is nerfed as he already has Mother Agatha charmed (if this charm was broken by the players a "priest" statblock would have joined them making the battle even easier... I am not a monster).
Pretty good fight, and a lot of character development for one player (more on him in another post)
Mother Agatha agrees that maybe it is time to revisit the concept of faith and returns to town. Earning the support of Sister Garaele for the Nox Alliance.
Tiny lore drop, female goblins are big, red, hairy, and called "hobgoblins"
The Grick has been dropped because the overall combat encounters have been beefed up marginally. The owlbear has been replaced with a Winter Wolf (the war mount of Grol).
Last but not least the Doppleganger has been replaced with an Elven Knight (Knight Stat Block, high elf), because the dopplegangers in this module are completely pointless.
words cannot express... how pointless the dopplegangers are. Especially since their primary disguise is DROW, that will for sure not make any of these surface dwelling people here not suspicious of you.
The gang Wins! They Rescue Gundren Rockseeker and they get back to town.
But thankfully the group had stabilized things around town. In fact overall the town has a bit of a celebration that night, the promise of more work has arrived in town, and a lot problems around town have been solved.
The players characters all get plastered, they wake up in the Inn that morning in various odd places. Gundren Rockseeker and Andral winterborn adorably cuddling napping on a couch with a blanket over them like in that one episode of Friends.
So Gundren reveals to the team that he isnt super worried about The Black Rose taking control of Dark Echo Cave, although she knows where Wave Echo Cave is because she took his map... she has no way of activating the Forge of Spells. Although he iis somewhat worried about his siblings he is confident they will stay out of trouble if she shows up (at least this is what he is telling himself)
See, when his great Grandfather and the dwarves raided the cave ,they could not destroy the Forge of spells... only dismantle it. The igniter of the forge was taken, and entrusted to someone known as Syrus Tatters... a wizard that lived in Thundertree.
Now this was 500 years ago, and Tatters was a human wizard. But its a place to start looking at the very least. Plus the gang wants to find Reidoth who is said to have gone there
The gangs breakfast meeting with Andral and Gundren is interrupted by the arrival of whats left of the Orc Warband in town. Brughor Axe-biter is FURIOUS that his son Grol has been murdered by the party... the Warband consists of
An Orc Warchief, 1 Ogre, 2 goblins, 1 goblin wolf (Jackal), 6 Regular Orcs, 4 half-orcs, 2 regular wolves, 1 Targor Bloodsword (super beefy half-orc)
Imagine my shock, when the group manages to talk down Brughor and has a genuine emotional moment with this orc who lost his first son, the only connection to his long since passed wife and a way of life that no longer exists in this world in the same way.
Brughor has a breakdown and begins to cry, and his anger is redirected at The Black Rose, the woman who corrupted his son and led to the destruction of much of his clan. He forgives the party and asks only one thing of them... that they let him personally dual the one of them who killed his son (Brughor without weapons, to make it more fair)
And that they kill the black rose for him.
He and his clan set up camp outside of town... he has a good long think about things.
He explains that there is a cult in town that has been making these undead creatures, they go into the wizards tower on the hill, and come out with buckets of ash that they use to construct these undead creatures... using the skeletons of the people who died in Thundertree when Mt. Hothen erupted.
(by the way I just cut the twig blights entirely and replaced them with more ash zombies, I cut the ash zombies ability to come back when downed, threw in a couple of ambush drakes for the cultists)
He was never a warrior druid, he was always a philosopher who focused on the intellectual and philosophical aspects of being a druid... He did not have the strength to protect his family, and even if he did he was somewhat cowardly in this battle.
In Reidoths mind, if he had been better his family wouldnt be broken and shattered like it is now... (not everyone died, but enough did) so he seeks redemption. He heard of a great tree planted by the nature god Sarn (who took pity on his people in days long past), that fell when a volcano erupted, he aimed to restore the tree as a form of redemption.
Along the way he met Qelline Alderleaf... there was... something there, he spent a lot of time with her, but he felt he needed to complete his pilgrimage to Thundertree to restore the Thundertree. Once he saw the cult here though he realized that his work here would take far longer than he expected.
As for Thundertree itself? 50 years ago most people in town fled or died when Mt. Hothen erupted, the land choked in ash. All except one person... Syrus Tatters... or as he was known in his true form Tatterwing, one of the last of the dragons.
An Iron Dragon, Tatterwing is immune to the toxic ash that choked the air, in fact the breath weapon of the Iron Dragon is a poisonous cloud of ash and smoke (these replace Brass Dragons in my world)... But he was left alone, his horde was not just in the treasures he collected... but the town itself and its people.
In his final years he used his magical knowledge to construct for himself a single egg, as he could not find a mate, an offspring for himself. But in his sorrow and depression he slowly died clutching the egg in his arms, 12 years before the start of that campaign, the egg hatched.
Born in the arms of his dead father, Rustblood was alone in the world... until he was found, by a group seeking draconic forces in this world, what they viewed as the last shreds of divinity.
They whispered into Rusbloods ears all that he could be... they nurtured him to be their new god. And with his ash and his scales Rustblood constructed an army for the cultists. In exchange the cult provided him with treasures, trinkets, and... what any child would want... many toys and playthings.
Reidoth cast aside his cowardice that day... he did not do great against the dragon, but a healing word here and there certainly helped the party.
Rustblood fell in battle, and the party began looting the dragons lair. There they found the igniter, an unassuming metallic circle that would reactivate the forge of spells.
And on the far wall a gigantic treasure chest... They opened the chest, and with horror saw the dragons most treasured possessions... A lot of toys, and I mean... A LOOOOOOOOOOT OF TOYS. The group put together that the dragon was a child, and they felt bad.
(also one of the toys is a 5 foot tall, silver haired, blue eyed, handsome ball jointed androgynous doll/mannequin boy... its super cursed, but also super cursed magically, it randomly attunes itself to a player and that player is now obsessed with it... but on the plus side, if that player dies their soul is absorbed by the doll and they take control of the doll! They dont know this yet...)
Thats when the cultists show up... they mad... and they brought all the zombies in town.
Big fight happens, but because they made a choke point in the tower and Reidoth had a moonbeam left in his arsenal... it was shockingly easy.
When its over the area seems to release tension, it begins to rain and the ash in the region is slowly washed away. It seems that whatever curse blighted this land was tied to the evils happening here, preventing it from recovering...
The players get a couple of very nice rewards from this aside from the igniter. Reidoth offers them a single cost-free reincarnation for helping him in his quest... And one of the cults unhatched Ambush Drake eggs.
Reidoth returns to town, reunites with Qelline Alderleaf, decides to open up a potion business in town with her. He will return to thundertree to try and restore the titular tree itself, but that can wait... other things take priority.
Qelline now supports the Nox Alliance, the town is all in on joining the alliance and everyone now loves the party.
There is a child there, well two children as Qelline has a son... but there is now a new child there, a very angry kid with rust colored eyes who is super violent towards the party and hates them all.
Reidoth doesnt split hairs "yeah thats rustblood... I reincarnated him, I did not think he would be that young as a humanoid... I felt bad after seeing the toy chest"
The gang then after getting a reward from Qelline then delivers the Igniter to Gundren Rockseeker. Who begins preperations to the expedition to Dark Echo Cave.
In town everyone does some other stuff before they can do that. One of the things they do... this shocked me, was blow their Reincarnate.
Immediatly they got Reidoth, went to Brughor, and said "hey Brughor, want your son back?" Reidoth was skeptical, because telling a pureblood orc that they can bring their pureblood son back to life, but not as an orc, is one of the riskiest things you can possibly do.
Brughor has a bit of an emotional meltdown over this, but he realizes... he loves his son Grol, more than he loves his son Grol being an orc
now here is something a bit interesting. I have a homebrew mechanic for Reincarnate. Everyone with a connection to the deceased can participate in the ritual to bring someone back to life with the spell... Each person participating provides a D100 to roll on the Reincarnate table.
And the person coming back to life gets to chose from the options.
Grol had two brothers, a father, Reidoth (the default dice roller), and the five players who all murdered him (Its a sketchy connection, but its a genuine one).
Each player rolls the d100, and for some reason there is 3 ones... But one player manages to land on Half-orc, and you know what player that was... it was the player who killed Grol
Brughor just witnessed a miracle, the return of his son to a very vamiliar looking form from a single tusk, a form that can now become a father. Brughor has just become the groups friend for life... to say the least...
Grol is VERY CONFUSED!!!
Anyway, onto Dark Echo Cave
and the Rassani, are what is now called a Halfling... dwarves were lower class miners on this atlantis-like continent, but rather than give the dwarves any rights and free gnomes from compulsory service... the Rassani just sunk their own continent.
The dwarves found a new home and spent the next few millenia keeping the Rassani from rebuilding their empire of slavery and tyranny... Fendris was the last holdout of the Rassani civilization.
Gundren Rockseeker gets as many wagons full of supplies as he can, and recruits a number of people from town, to help with setting up in Dark Echo Cave. a Number of NPCs are brought, Brughor Axe Biter, Rustblood & Reidoth, Elsa the Tiefling Barmaid, Andral Winterborn and the Sleepless Knights, Linene Graywind, and Mother Agatha.
First thing they see, Gundrens Brother curcified on a stone pillar...
The team goes into the cave and encounter, many of my changes.
Skeletons have been replaced with a bunch of gnomes that were in stasis, the last of Fendris' guards that they manage to talk down from a fight.
I replaced the stirges with a heck-ton of hunters traps, they stepped in nearly every single one and failed almost all of their perception checks.
They also find and heal Gundren rockseekers beloved canine companion, Ruby the Mastiff (who has a level in fighter, and is a character I made to accompany smaller player groups on the way to Fendelin in the cart... guess the reference)
A helmed Horror whose life essence is tied to the forge of spells and cannot leave the room, they manage to convince him that they are rightful heirs to the Forge of Spells. (I didnt like the spectator)
The wraith has been replaced wti ha deactivated gnomish wizard who was a friend/concubine to Fendris (deactivated gnomes can be in a coma)
And most awesomely an Otyugh which replaced the Flame Skull, this otyugh is the master of the Dwarven Ghouls and Gnomish Zombies (gnomes are flesh and blood, just artificially made) and there is a huuuuuuge battle between it and the players.
Worth noting all the bugbears in this cave have been replaced with elvish spies, and the last doppleganger with another Elven Knight.
Last but not least... the players finally encounter The Black Rose, who has just completed a ritual to bring back Fendris in the form of a flaming skull. This was her primary goal all along, with Fendris under her control they could build a thousand forges for the empire of Dis.
She offers to let the players live if they let her leave with Fendris... but after all the players had been through, after all she had done... it was a big "nope"
Now here is where I messed up as the DM. I kept Nezznar the Black Spiders stat block mostly the same, I replaced the two bugbears in the room with Elven Spies... Replaced the four giant spiders with six bloodhawks under her control.
And she had a Flame Skull under her control
With the removal of the Wraith and the Spectator, I felt this was a pretty fair battle... however
However I had placed an Elven Knight token in the room ahead of time, because according ot the module the doppleganger from the adcjascent area will flee into this area. But the players got the drop on that Elven Knight and killed him before he could flee to The Black Rose.
But I had placed an Elven Knight token in there pre-emptively for this even... and I had forgotten that is why that Elven Knight was in there.
On top of that, most of the Blood Hawks should have died in the fireball that Fendris the Flame skull dropped on the players, but it slipped my mind.
Between the Extra Elven Knight and the Blood Hawks, the players got overwhelmed... This was my mistake, but trust me on this... it was still entirely possible for them to have won the fight, just remember areas of effect are not discriminatory.
Thankfully I planned ahead, the Black Rose took the group hostage and was going to use them as hostages to get out of the cave.
That is when the tied up and gagged group realized... their goblin sidekick was missing.
The goblin comes bursting through the door, And I ask the group... "so which if the rescue party do you want to play"
and they get the following options (remember player stats dont translate directly to NPC stats, the character sheets I made here are just sorta placeholders for this)
*Rustblood & Reidoth (both, as reidoth is a philosopher), a draconic sorcerer 1, druid 1 (he more realisticially has 1/2 level of sorcerer, and 1/8th level of druid but I want the player to have fun) and a druid 4 (Reidoth has a much higher level in philosopher side of druid stuff... ) *Brughor Axe-Biter, an Orc Warchief (who dual wields battleaxes, and has Relentless Endurance) *Andral Winterborn and the Sleepless Knights (four characters, a modified noble, 3 guards) *Elsa the tiefling barmaid, Rogue 1 and Monk 1 (yes... I allowe sneak attack on unarmed monk strikes) with the healer feat *Gundren Rockseeker & Ruby, a Ranger 1 Rogue 1 Fighter 1, and Mastiff 1 fighter 1 *Linene Graywind, Barbarian 2 Fighter 3 *Mother Agatha, WHO ROLLED INSANE ON STATS, Wizard 2 Paladin 2 Cleric 2 *Daran Edermath, Eldritch Knight 5 and Wizard 1
The players chose Gundren & Ruby, Daran, Brughor, Elsa, and Mother Agatha.
The players kick Fendris' and the Black Roses ass, as well as all the elven spies who showed up after the players were knocked out. The party is saved and the town of Fendelin is allowed to prosper.
I prepared this scenario because I knew I am not that good at balancing encounters yet as a DM. It worked out because a lot of the NPCs have more strong feelings about The Black Rose than the party does, and the players are very connected to the NPC's at this point.
the group decides to stick together as we move into homebrew territory and a homebrew campaign where they persue their own goals. The town of Fendelin elects a new townmaster and things arre looking up in town
The players get a huge payout for helping with the mine situation, 500 gold... EACH
But Gundren has a personal reward for them, you see long ago when the Dwarves and Rassani waged war against each other, the dwarves created weapons to level the playing field between themselves and the Rassani.
rogue rassani stole the plans for such weapons when they scattered, Fendris himself had made a few and planned to mass produce them. Until now the art of creating these weapons was lost...
It will take years to get the forge of spells up and running on the same level it once did, but these weapons they can make now.
He presents the group with the first of these weapons, which he proudly proclaims "The boys we got working at the forged named them after me, they are calling it... A Gun"
And thats how the "Lost mine of Phandelver" or rather "Lost mine of Fendris" segment of our campaign went.
In dark times, even the Grandfather sends forth angels.
|submitted by MudcrabBrand to ImaginaryWarhammer|