> 1. The premise. We are asked to assume that Rhuobhe MANSLAYER,
> dreaded elven abomination, is willing to humor the daughter of one of
> his greatest foes. Is this really in character for Rhoubhe? This
> awnshegh exists only to end the bloodlines of the humans around
> him. I could see him trading her life for her father's, but not
> playing around with her little plot. What does he have to gain from
> it? Too little for him to bother.

I'm not really sure about that. The possibility of WAR between Avan
and Boeruine has the potential to cost the lives of thousands of
Anuireans. They are the two biggest players for the Iron throne, and
several countries would have to toss their hats in the ring should
these two start fighting. All this costs the Manslayer nothing in
terms of men or effort, weakens his enemy so his raids become more
successful, and if it works, really isn't led back to him should
someone want revenge. Remember, Manslayers elves are greatly
outnumbered, and it is only their ability to defend themselves inside
their own land and the constant state of tension between the other
powers that keeps them from being invaded and whiped out.

> 2. The set-up. I can't actually use it for my players. They would
> easily foil it, and spoil the rest of the adventure. Three things
> have to occur in order for the adventure to progress:
> a) "REGARDLESS of the PCs skill, the attackers somehow manage to
> spirit Aubrae Avan away." My PCs would just love that. "I'm sorry,
> you killed all of the attackers, but she has still vanished without a
> trace. It's the damnedest thing...." I really don't like to be this
> heavy-handed about things. It ruins the GM-Player bond of trust. I
> like my PCs to at least >think< they can effect the plot when they
> are clever or effective. One of my PCs can fly. This would make it
> very difficult for the attackers to get away from him.

If you really don't like that then toss in a mage capable of casting
a teleport spell. That means the elves really only have to fight
long enough for the mage to touch her, and poof..their back in
Rhoubhe's place, with the rest of the elves left to deal with the
PC's This is how I always pictured kidmapping to happen in the magic
rich lands of Cerilia. Why fight it out, when you can drop in then
pop out. Realistically, the PC's should have no chance at all to
figure out where they went, but a few captives could point the way.

> b) "Prince Avan's guards are whittled down severely, leaving only
> two." Okay, this is easy enough to manage. Although my characters
> could probably save a couple of others if they were ALLOWED to do so.

Depends on how far along the battle was when they got there. Guards
are 1-2HD boys, and elves firing 2 arrows doing d8 dmg a round, not
counting poison could kill them off pretty fast, regardless of how
good your group is.

> c) "Prince Avan is rendered helpless by a poisoned arrow that finds
> his belly. Though the PC's castle may be home to healers aplenty,
> none can bring Avan back to full health in time to pursue those who
> have stolen his daughter." Now, this may be a matter of playing
> style, but I've always ruled that magical healing is, well, magical
> healing. No recovery time necessary. He could be up and kicking in
> no time. Although, again, there could be good reasons why this
> couldn't happen. (At a meeting of all the important people in
> Anuire, don't you think a few high-ranked clerics might show up?
> Especially given the highly political nature of the temples in
> Anuire.)

Magical poison however, would foil that plan. Suppose the poison was
strong enough (magically) that you really couldn't completely shake
the effects through magical curing. This is really a minor point,
designed to involve the PCs...if you don't like it, you can always
come up with another reason to send them (you said your PCs weren't
regents, so Avan, being the guy that he is, doesn't want to risk his
own hide, and sends in the champions...)

> 3. The crime. The bandits are wearing the livery of Boeruine.
> "Hey, Boeruine must be responsible for the attack! String him up!"
> My players aren't going to be fooled by this. Boeruine is too smart
> to allow this to be traced back to him if he really were responsible.
> Unless he wanted it to be traced back to him, so it would look as if
> he were being framed.... : ) -- Again, aren't there going to be
> clerics at this event? Through Divination or Detect Lie, won't
> Boeruine be able to clear his name pretty quickly? And given that
> why would Rhoubhe go along with this plan? The elves are too sloppy
> (dumping the bodies in a nearby ravine) for the plan to ever have any
> chance of success.

It is pretty thinly disguised, but Boeruine is still not innocent
until proven so. Magic can cover up those lies, even under detect
lie spells (and you never really know if he made his save, or what
other magics he is under) The nearby ravine (if I remember
correctly) was a mile or so away from the ambush site, so I really
don't think that was too sloppy. These forces (actually mercenaries,
if I remember, as well as elves) had to make do, and couldn't spend
much time hiding bodies..they were in hostile territory and had to
leave ASAP.

> 4. Tracking Elves. What? You are kidding right? Cerilian Elves
> have innate Pass without Trace. How are humans going to track them?

Well, they are bringing a human with them, so she can be tracked.
Some of them may be mounted (they are in a hurry after all), so the
horses can be followed, and a locate object spell on something
belonging to the princess makes it real easy....

> 5. The adventure: I have to read through this again for more
> specific comments, but it is assumed that PCs have brought a small
> army with them. Perhaps this is reasonable give the set-up. There
> is no shortage of Regents who would lend men to this cause. It seems
> to be a pretty decent dungeon crawl (my PCs have been itching to kill
> a few Orogs...). No ridiculous monsters stand out from my first
> couple of passes through it. Should provide a good challenge to your
> PCs, although I'm not sure how much thinking enters into the picture.
> 6. The conclusion: The PCs vs. Rhoubhe Manslayer. Why would he
> let any of them escape? Maybe one to tell the world of Aubrae's
> dishonesty, but the others? The PCs have entered his home, killed
> his elves, stolen his stuff, etc. He should slay them out of hand.
> What are the odds they caught him on a good day? He should
> immediately "harvest" the blooded individuals, noble and otherwise.
> He might let the Elves in the group live (pity my group has no
> elves), although Half-Elves should be so offensive to Rhoubhe that he
> kills them on sight. What could be more awful to him than the
> crossing of man and elf?

I'm stumped here...I have no idea why he would let them escape
(realistically). This is more along the lines of a plot device I
suppose, unless you want to think that Manslayer is worried one
little PC won't make it back by himself, and needs his buds. *shrug*

> The other adventures seem okay, but I'd have to reread them for
> specific comments. My initial impressions:
> 1. The adventure where the PCs go digging around in a lost Khinasi
> temple for the sword of Michael Roele is nothing more than an
> old-style hack and slash dungeon bonk. Lots of rooms with different
> monsters and no real meat for roleplaying. And at the end, the only
> thing the PCs have to show for their efforts is a broken sword.
> Great conversation piece, however.

It did seem like a lot of work for a crappy sword (despite it's
heretige), so I bumped up the powers of the sword to make it worth
their while :)

> 2. The Warlock of the Stonecrowns. Interesting premise. Again, I
> think this one devolves into a dungeon crawl as well. There is also
> (if my memory serves) a brief jaunt onto the Shadow World for an
> encounter with a dracolich. Yuck. I have to reread this for
> specific comments.

It is really only a crawl in the final stages of the adventure. If
you ply it out long enough and develope the Warlocks plan, the PCs
have wars and more to deal with...

> 3. The Bloodspear module from Dungeon Magazine. This is the best of
> the lot. Sure, it is a dungeon crawl, but it introduces some neat
> characters, gives a feel for the Shadow World, and allows the PCs to
> get their hopes up over a Tighmaevril weapon. It was a hoot to run.
> 4. The Legends of the Hero Kings. An interesting concept, but a
> mediocre execution. Most of these adventures are too one-note to be
> anything but sidelines during a real adventure. For example, in the
> Horns of Droene, the PCs encounter an Awnsheghlien named the Ogre.
> He sets up an ambush and tries to commit bloodtheft on the PCs.
> Tada. End of story. Although, if the PCs try the same trick on him,
> they have a chance of having their bloodline corrupted by his evil
> Azrai blood. (I have expanded this rule to include all scions of
> Azrai). Did I mention the Amulet he carries that tells you the
> bloodline and strength of the scions around you? Is that really an
> item you want your PCs to have? I sure don't. Another adventure
> involves a tighmaevril dagger. It is clearly an evil weapon. Why
> would the Elven smith be crafting evil weapons? Again, is this
> something you want your PCs to have? The Fang of Kriesha adventure
> looked pretty good.

I found that a lot of these adventures were what you made them to be.
The basic outline of NPCs and a plot is there, but it is up to the
DM to expand on them and use them for whatever purpose he/she chose.
I ran the Horns of Droene over 3 weeks, and only in the end did the
big ecounter occur. The PCs had to figure out where this guy was
that was burning and looting their provinces, and that took some

> Does anyone else agree with me, or am I barking mad as usual?

Just MHO on some of these points :)