Plot Device #6

Mancon 2017 was wildly successful. The worst thing about it is that I can’t figure out which game was best and worst because they were all so damn good. Here’s a quick breakdown for those of you who were not fortunate enough to make it. At least the games I played in –

  1. Savage Worlds Rifts – Pretty awesome, I’m a fan of both Rifts and Savage Worlds and using the latter game system solves a lot of the problems involved in the former’s setting.

    2.) Ravnivori Empire – Mine, obviously. It went surprisingly well. I ended up with the curmudgeon crew so I was a little nervous but they just wanted to do cool things and I just like letting people do awesome things so it worked out. The highlight was probably when they one-shotted the master bad guy by defenestration because he was watching the battle below from a window.

    3.) Savage Worlds Division E – a Homebrew by the organizer of the Con and the guy I rode with and an ongoing campaign. I played a character previously played by someone else. We were mostly normal people trying to stop a Superman level “hero” who was doing a lot of collateral damage. The highlight here was that we blew up the children’s wing of a hospital to stop him. (all the children had been moved out.)

    That was Friday. Saturday –

    4.) Dogtown – a homemade system and setting. We’re Irish mobsters in prohibition era Missouri. Highlight here was the final scene where one of the players turned on the rest of us and got tommy gunned down then I killed a rival mob boss.

    5.) This Empire Earth – Another Homebrew by the organizer of the Con. I was in on the ground floor of this setting and I’m still playing my original character. It’s funny because none of the party has ever died while I’ve played in a session but when I’m not there, there are inevitably casualties. Highlight here was when we turned the living ship from beyond our galaxy that was trying to eat us onto the cyborg bounty hunter that was after us.

    6.) East Texas University – Savage Worlds and East Texas. It’s like this was made for me to love it. I’m not a super fan of horror, but it’s pretty good, anyway. I played a yuppy cheerleader sorority girl so….that wasn’t easy…but it was fun. It’s another on going campaign that only gets played at this con so the characters go to whoever is available to play them with preference going to people who have played them before. Highlight for this one was slowly closing the secret door on the demon that had been bound up in a closet. It had the visage of a woman so it was “sorry lady.”

And, as promised, here is the plot for my game. Things in <> are where the party diverged from my plan and/or their actions.

Mancon year 3– King Under the Hill story.

Background – Tzarina Vonka Yoltsov wants terrestrial holdings. A horde is invading Shaintar (Lead by Vadagor.) 7 nations opposing the horde offer land in exchange for providing aid <I just did this as a quick backstory. They didn’t even interact with Vonka IC. We jumped straight to the below encounter.>

  1. If there is a pilot in the group, as they are arriving, they are attacked by a dragon with a light ballista mounted on its back. “Piloted” by 2 orcs. <There was a pilot in the party, 2 in fact, but my predilection for close combat meant that there was only 1 person with the shooting skill. So, they couldn’t fire the ship’s weapons at the dragon. One of them was a spellcaster though so he was able to throw some damage at the thing. I’ll have to adjust my pre-gens again so that some more of them have shooting. I ran this like a chase and they made short work of the Orcs but it ended up with the captain ramming the dragon to death with the ship. The best part was when the Hadozee jumped from the ship onto the dragon then shot the ballista at its head at point blank range. It hit but deflected off.>
  1. Commander Bartov of the 7 Nation Army holds a conference. And assigns them their mission. (Knowledge: Battle roll indicates he is sacrificing them.) <No one had Knowledge: Battle, so this wasn’t an issue and kind of threw a monkey wrench in the end game.>
  1. Use OSA on page 150 as basis for first encounter <It’s the one where the party has to convince villagers to let them burn down their village.> Include mention of folks there, including Mayor (Barados) barmaid with birthmark (Malani.) Some mention that only the King Under the Hill can save them. If asked, told that old Ezekiah at Gnollview tower can tell them more. Replace Orcs and Boars with Goblins and Dire Wolves. <This went pretty much as planned. I ran it as a social conflict and the party got enough successes to convince the villagers to leave. They ran fairly roughshod over the goblins when they showed up.>
  1. Orcs are attacking Ezekiah’s tower. She’s throwing things at them, including books. “Do I have 2 copies of this? Oh no, I think that’s the one that had my notes in it.” Takes a liking to one of the characters (Nice to her, smartest, handsomest, one with white benny.) <This turned out to be the Minotaur because I gave him the Big Horns edge and that translates into a Charisma Boost. I played Ezekiah as an elderly who was lightly hitting on him.> Gives that character a “trinket” – minor magical item (and healing, if needed.) They can suggest things but Luck token, if nothing else. Provides 1 free reroll per session but can’t be used to Soak. <He took bracers that gave him a +1 to Fighting. The Sorcerer managed to convince her that he was the Minotaur’s bodyguard and that he should get something too, so she gave him an amulet with 5 Power points. And then, the Hadozee swiped another pistol. All in all, she kind of ended up being that leprechaun thingy you kick in Gauntlet to get loot…> She’ll explain that they need the blood of the king or his crown or both to get his aid. Blood is the barmaid can be identified by birthmark “His Hand is upon them.” <It didn’t take them long to clamp onto this…which was ok. It’s where I wanted them to go and I didn’t particularly want to hide the ball.>
  1. Crown is in separate barrow. Defended by riddle and trap – A simple map of a town is on the floor – Castle, church, CEMETERY, homes, port, barn/farm, jail. Writing on the wall says “Relief lies only where every man’s wealth is stolen, every man is equal in the eyes of justice, all pain is ended, all dreams are dashed.”

Laser beam trap is guarding the chamber. Turned off by stepping on cemetery but if anyone steps on any other, trap strengthens for the turn, even if cemetery is being stepped on. <This also went pretty much as expected. I’m always nervous about riddles but the guys got this one pretty much right away. The only fly in the ointment was that they thought each part of the relief was a separate location. Once I clarified they could all stand in one spot, they got it immediately. (It’s the cemetery, btw, if the Caps Lock didn’t make it obvious enough.)

Regular guards (Skeletons toughness and +1 parry for armor/shield. Using spear str+d6.) Will bow to the blood, if she is with the group and aid in fighting the Guardian. <They did this before going to get the Blood so they had to actually fight these guys. Again, short work was made.>

Naga guarding crown. Sleeping. Can be avoided with stealth and agility check but money can’t be taken. 600Gp in horde and shortsword with a +1 to Fighting bonus. <Didn’t even try sneaking. They just charged right in. I got to have a Kaa moment and had one of the characters under the Naga’s thrall for half a round before they killed it…the Naga, not the character.>

  1. Ranks and ranks of warriors at main Barrow. Spear, shield and sword. Not sure how they’re standing up. The king is on a throne, armed the same way. Doesn’t speak but will welcome blood/crown holder and show agreement. If neither, runs the party off. (Obvious they can’t win.) <They’d looped back and gotten the Blood by now, so they had both and he was glad enough to follow them out with his army arrayed behind him.>
  1. A Beastman Necromancer is waiting outside with henchmen. (Use Orc Stats.) Can turn the King Under the Hill’s followers against them. <We completely skipped this encounter. I forgot it when they came out and we were running short on time, anyway so I didn’t try to squeeze it in.>
  1. During the Final battle the party can hunt down the leader. Dramatic task: Each person has to get at least one success. May use any reasonable ability. Others can aid. <This is what the party did. And they got an extra success so they got the drop on the commander.> Attended by Adamant Corps <I took this part out.>– Ogre bodyguard. Will surrender if Goblin Beetlerider defeated. <This happened. Actually, the Ogre took one swing before the party defenestrated the leader. He was watching and commanding the battle from a window in a ruin overlooking the battlefield from a cliff and they just pushed him out. I’d be mad about the one shot kill but that’s pretty awesome. If I remember, I may let them use the Ogre as a combat NPC next year. Or I may create him as a pre-gen. I have the rules for PC ogres.>


  1. Modifiers for the final battle <None of this mattered since the party didn’t have anyone with Knowledge: Battle so the commanding was actually done by an NPC and it only mattered that they killed the commander. But, here would have been the way things would have shaped up if we would have used the mass battle rules> –

If party succeeds at nothing – out numbered 5 to 10. <Obviously not the case.>

King Under the Hill recruited – Makes forces equal or gives enemy -1 token if Villagers Convinced to leave peacefully <Achieved!>

Convincing Villagers to leave peacefully – +1 allied token (Militia) or -1 to enemy if King Under the Hill is also Recruited. +1 morale to allied forces. <Achieved!>

Villagers run off – 1 morale to allied forces. <Not the case.>

If they defeat the dragon at the beginning, a second ship arrives with them they get one extra token or enemy forces are reduced by 1 more token if King Under the Hill Recruited. <Achieved!>

Kill enemy leader before battle is over – enemy has -1 morale and rolls Battle Rolls untrained (shouldn’t take long.) Allied forces get +1 morale. <Achieved!>

<So, they would have ended up with 10 tokens against 8 with a +2 to their Morale rolls and the enemy would have been using a replacement Commander who would be rolling Knowledge: Battle Untrained by the end.>

All in all, it was a sweeping success. I’m already thinking of adventures for Mancon 2018!

Here are the pregens I had out and their associated miniatures.  I had 13 options for the players.

And the penultimate moment in the adventure just before they shoved the goblin leader (at the very bottom) out the window.

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