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12-21-2013, 06:35 PM #1
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"Time of the Wolf" Ideas and questions for a new Birthright campaign
Time of the Wolf
A D&D Birthright Campaign
The background is this: In Anuire, tensions run high. The nobles quarrel a little more than usual, and the Awnsheghlien raid a little more than usual. There is talk, perhaps, of Boeruine and Avanil joining in alliance (?!) to take out Rhuobhe or maybe the Spider. Perhaps the Gorgon stirs up Markazor and Mur-Kilad to invade Ghoere. The whole of the fallen Empire is a powder keg, and the pickings for mercenaries are great.
Rumors/events that might be picked up on are that minor blooded characters seem to be disappearing all over Cerilia. Maybe the characters run into a low level scion who is unconscious and being loaded into a covered carriage by cloaked figures. The pcs drive off the ruffians. The character, who is a mildly wealthy minor noble, stands them a drink, and, as the night wears on and he drinks more and more, he admits that his line is tainted with the blood of Azrai.
It turns out that most of the disappearing nobles have an Azrai derivation. The pcs will find this out only by doing some research.
Campaign begins in a serious way around sixth level. There must be at least one blooded pc, but no regents. The pcs are mercenaries and professional adventurers, maybe commanding a few companies.
Eventually, a wealthy guild (Heartland Outfitters?) approaches the -now 6th level and moderately famous- pcs with a proposition. They are boldly striking out into Wolfgaard (strange that they are investing so far away?) but they give some economically solid (seeming) reason for that. Maybe silver has been struck in the area, and they are privy to the news. They want to move in before others find out.
Of course, the problem is the Wolf.
The possibilities of getting settlers to work the mines in the lands where even a minor Awnshegh hunts are pretty slim. So, the guild comes to the pcs with a proposition. How would they like to rule a small realm?
If the pcs can capture the Wolf (strangely, the guild doesn't want it killed?) they will supply the pcs with enough gold bars to create a small army and a few fortified law holdings. The guild will, of course, have a presence, and trade with the new realm on favorable terms. The local temple has agreed to invest one of the pcs as regent of Wolfgaard, and the rest can become ministers, generals and nobles.
This will require a long and dangerous adventure, of course. Capturing even a minor Awnshegh will be tough, especially if they are hampered in being unable to kill it. Assuming that they succeed, however, the guild is true to its word, and a new (struggling) realm is created. All goes well for about a year.
At the end of this time, the Wolf returns, and in a horrifying fashion. He is far more powerful than before. More powerful in fact, than any of the great Awnsheghlien, and, where the Wolf had originally been only a simple hunter, it now commands a ravening army of wolves, gnolls and goblins, led by dire wolf, winter wolf and werewolf officers. The huge pack now roams at will across Cerilia, destroying realms almost at will. Even the great Awnsheghlien dare not oppose them in the open field. Province after province is destroyed and left in ruins.
What happened was this. The Heartland Outfitters had sold out to a powerful Awnshegh. Maybe the Gorgon, the Magian or the Vampire. This being had found some ancient writings indicating that a lesser Awnshegh might be fused in some strange way with a massive bloodtheft of Azrai's derivation (hence all the kidnapped scions). The fiend believes that it could have an unstoppable power in the now divinely super-charged Wolf, which it would be able to dominate through charm spells and similar. It would then embark on a war of conquest of all Cerila, and perhaps all the world.
Not unexpectedly, things go wrong. The Wolf is now suffering horribly, but is powerful even beyond the expectations of its "Master." The Wolf shakes off the domination of the Gorgon (or whoever) and wrecks a good portion of his realm in escaping. Other wolves and allied monsters are attracted to it in an insane army of pure destruction, and it appears unstoppable.
Of course, the first place it goes is home to Wolfgaard, destroying the pc's army and ruining their fledgling realm in the process, forcing them to flee for their lives.
When this affords the Wolf no surcease, it roams Cerilia wreaking havoc. To make matters worse, it somehow seems to understand that its Azrai blood is what is hurting it, and it attacks the realms of other Awnsheghlien with wild abandon. Manslayer and the Spider are both driven from their realms, forcing them to become yet more marauding armies, and worsening the already horrible chaos. Cerilia is on the brink of destruction.
The pcs are the only ones who can save the day. They must find out what is happening, and then penetrate the partially ruined fortress of the Gorgon (or whoever caused all this mischief) and find the old dark scrolls that he used to tamper with the Wolf, and, hopefully, a way to reverse the process. This will involve yet further adventures (some to other planes) to collect the various ingredients needed to work the counter spell.
Though all of this is epically dangerous, and the Anuirean Empire is wrecked in the process, if the pcs are successful, they stand to become almost immeasurably mighty. Yes, Anuire will have to be rebuilt, and the other races will start to make incursions, but the Vos, Khinasi, etc., have suffered as well, and the Empire has now the potential advantage that most of its Awnsheghlien are dead or seriously weakened, so if it successfully reorganizes, it can come back more prosperous and powerful than ever. If the pcs are willing to take the bull by the horns and aggressively raise an army, they might well see themselves reuniting the Empire, and perhaps placing one of their number on the throne as the first Emperor since Michael Roele.
The Azrai-Tormented Wolf
I drew the stats (slightly modified) from the original Gods, Demigods and Heroes version of the Fenris Wolf:
Armor Class: —2
Fight/Save As: 16+ hit die Monster
Special Attacks: Swallow whole, cause fear (see below)
Special Defenses: Can only be damaged by magic weapons and spells
Magic Resistance: 100%
Hit Points: 300
War Card Abilities: The Wolf counts as a standard Awnshegh commander (see Blood Enemies: Abominations of Cerilia). In addition, the super-charged Azrai-Tormented version of the Wolf causes all enemies to defend at a -1 penalty against any units/companies stacked with the Wolf, because of the terror he inspires.
It attacks much like a purple worm, for if it scores a hit which is four points higher than what it requires, it has swallowed its prey. Otherwise it deals 10-80 points of damage.
Other than this, the Wolf has the blood abilities that it previously did, and perhaps a few more. It causes fear in a 100' radius.
Well, that is my basic campaign idea. It certainly could use some fleshing out, and some additional twists. One I think of as I write this is as follows:
What if there was, among the scrolls the pcs plunder regarding the newly enhanced Wolf, an ancient prophecy that someday, Azrai himself would return as a mighty beast, and plunge all the world into unending darkness unless... whatever. Maybe the PCs keep running into madmen saying “He’s coming… he’s coming… The dark one is coming…” (i.e., Stephen King’s The Stand). Other inspiration for this came from Carcharoth, Draugluin, Wolf_Sauron, etc., from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.
A couple of humorous asides might involve drawing on and modifying the plots from such stories as The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood that have wolf-villains. Maybe the pigs are ehrshegh sorcerer-brothers who have the power to temporarily confuse the Wolf or his minions, and will give these to the pcs in exchange for some magic apples and turnips gotten from an extra-dimensional fair? Maybe Red is an Azrai-tainted witch who the Wolf has devoured, and a trip through his insides is necessary to get her out (possible to get in there only as he sleeps, with the magic provided by the pig-ehrsheghlien). She can then give the pcs a magical basket of goodies, or a magical woodsman's axe of wolf slaying?
Any help would be appreciated.
Last edited by gloriousbattle; 12-21-2013 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Additional thoughts and spelling corrections
12-22-2013, 10:53 AM #2
IIRC when we played against the Wolf, he wasn't that powerful but was allied with a woman who used illusion to appear as a she-wolf (see the wiki page for the Wolf). She had the research about the wolf and his people. Part of the issue for the party was whether to try and win over this woman or not.
So maybe you could use someone like this as a route to information that may give the party another route to a solution. Of course, there may be those who supply misinformation for their own gain.
12-22-2013, 05:14 PM #3
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