Any advice?

  By Shamus   Nov 25, 2005   45 comments

I thought I’d offer a chance for you readers to chime in with advice or strategy for the players. If you had a character in this campaign, what would you be doing right now? What would your goals be and what would you have done differently so far? This is your chance to shout advice to the characters on the screen in such a way that they will actually HEAR it. Just leave a comment below if you have any clever ideas.

I know this blog doesn’t have very high traffic. It’s certainly nothing compared to my other various projects, but I’d love to see if the story has captured anyone’s attention outside of our group.

20205Feeling chatty? There are 45 comments.


  1. Ethan says:

    It has captured my interest. I may be waaaaaaaaaay late but its a good read.

  2. Charles says:

    I am enjoying the story and the insights on how to DM a game.

  3. Daniel says:

    Greetings from France!

    Aye, I’ve been reading you for hours. This is masterwork, and humbling.

    I’ve ran scenarii since I was 15, for about ten years (last time I played was an easy 8 years ago), am gifted with imagination, but cursed with laziness. I would rely heavily on improvisation…

    But it’s blatant that when something is as prepared & coherent as your campaign, it really comes to life! But then that takes the focus of an adult – and I suspect you’ve been reading a lot, including History. You have a great sense of intrigue!

    Oh, I came here through your AWESOME DM of the rings. I burst out laughing many times! Revived so many memories, too…

    Someone – a very good story teller, actually – put a link to that on a D&D CRPG fansite, the Circle of 8 of The Temple of Elemental Evil…

    Wish you the best!

  4. Deoxy says:

    OK, haven’t read any further, but I would suggest getting some dedicatd pople to take the thing out on a boat far out at sea and destroy it… with the current “owner” setting some dstructive machinry in action and thn killing themselves before it finishes. There would need to be some kind of backup plan (read: other people willing to die) to make sure it works and the orb dosn’t sink to the bottom of the sea (where the lich would be a bit annoyed to come back at, but everybody else would be REALLY hard pressed to get to it to deal with the lich in the future). Some kind of mechanism to sink the ship ONLY when a specific person (or several people) all let it (read: because they are dead) might not be a bad idea.

  5. -Chipper says:

    This campaign is fascinating reading. I’ve only played D&D a few times years ago, with simple pre-written campaigns. On the one hand it makes me wish to be part of such a group, but on the other the time investment is daunting.

    As to how should the players deal with this, my first thought would be see if it is possible to reimprison him as he was before, although that likely requires more magic than our band can manage right now – perhaps with the help of the queen it could be done. Although, the queen doesn’t sound like an ideal ally.

    My next thought if that isn’t feasible would be to ask whether by killing him (possibly multiple times?) would he become weak enough to not be a threat, since the ball keeps some of his power when he is killed.

    As to destroying the ball, it is interesting that the kill spell is centered around the owner, not the ball. So the owner could sail off without the ball (without someone else claiming it) & others could then destroy the ball. Again, though, does our band have the power to destroy it? Could it be cast in a volcano? I’ve seen that in a movie once. ;-) Also someone would have to sacrifice her/himself.

  6. J. Catbird says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, since I just skimmed this (excellent read, by the way), but the solution that I had seemed relatively straightforward. Sure, you’d need to find a magic-user, but it shouldn’t be that difficult.

    1. Banishment
    – Cast continual light on the orb, or perhaps on something next to the orb. This could, in effect, keep Mordan ineffective.

    2. Entrapment
    – Develop a means of binding the orb to a container that would keep Mordan properly imprisoned.

    3. Transfer of ownership
    – Beseech a lawful good demi-god to become the new owner. That’d keep Mordan from ever regaining power over the orb.

    Of course, I could be wrong…

  7. DMDonPablo says:

    I’m not sure the continual light will be enough. I think it mentioned that it has to be in daylight. And the DM could rule that the Daylight spell isn’t really enough either… although… it is a shorter duration and could be used for a burst of daylight.

    I toyed with the ideas of feeding it to a dragon, passing it off to another plane, tossing it in a volcano… but then it hit me. Isn’t Enoch a cleric of Pelor? My group uses the Faerun pantheon so I can’t recall Pelor but isn’t he the god of sun or light or something like that? Could Enoch pray for divine insight? What level is Enoch now? I’ve got a 10th lvl Morninglord of Lathander and I’m sure through commune and the like I could eventually figure out from my god how to destroy it. Knowing the party’s current level would really help me think in that/their perspective of capable abilities.

  8. freefall says:

    Don’t eat anything without first checking!!!!!!

  9. Robert says:

    Here’s something that may or may not be too complicate. The orb goes back to Mordan if the owner dies from anything but murder right? And the big kill everyone spell is centered on the owner right? Well I think the best way of doing is to someway give to orb to someone dieing of natural causes or about to kill themself then once the person is dead destory the orb because it will be centered on Mordan who mostly is still in his tomb. Can Enoch cast resurrection? If so then you can just have a party member become th eowner, kill himself, destory the orb then raise the dead member.

    • Lord of kobolds says:

      I know I’m really late, but had to comment.
      The issue with this plan is that Mordan IS in his tomb, right by a major city. This would almost certainly be against the players’ alignments.

  10. Blindeye says:

    I love this transcription

  11. Blindeye says:

    Posted too soon: I should also say: The mini-games are brilliant. I’m SO bringing that sort of element into my own games.

  12. Braya says:

    I have to agree with whoever suggested Pelor. I’m a bit fuzzy on Faerun pantheon, but isn’t one of his domains the sun? So what if they prayed to him and got on some sort of divine quest to stick the orb in permenant sunlight by giving it to a being on the plane of light (assuming on such as that exists)

    Just a little idea :D I love reading this transcript, it makes me miss D&D!

  13. MH says:

    Isn’t Enoch a cleric of Pelor? He should be able to get a powerful variant of Light/continual light. Even if the actual requirement is something in the lines of “under the light of the Sun”, Pelor should be good enough.

    I do realize this comes about 2 years too late. O well ;)

  14. inq101 says:

    My first order of business would be to try to reverse the scrying power of the orb to try to find out where Mordan is, what he’s doing.
    Destroying the orb could be do-able (dump it in another plane with some sort of time-bomb) but dificult. The otheroption is to put it out of reach (how much would an ornamental fountain of holy water with this at the centre cost?) or imprisoning the lich again (You would still have to kill him first). Any of these options would require allies.

  15. WHACKY josh says:

    I LOVE this transcript!!!! pure genius!!!

  16. Bobulus says:

    Way late, I know, but:

    Seems like you should be able to do something with the light-generating amulet given to help explore the tomb. If it gives out natural sunlight, you could keep it next to the orb and make sure the thing is near sunlight for as long as possible each day. Heck, if you could somehow flip the hours it shines light, you could keep the orb in sunlight all the time.

  17. Other 16 says:

    I started reading this while doing research for my own campaign (just about a year old now) and found it an amazing story, and can hardly imagine being able to keep it going with any sort of coherent flow. very impressed.

    To the DM, please include all details of minigames, they are exactly what I am trying to add to my campaign.

  18. thedrellum says:

    I just wanted you to know that I’m really liking the transcription and it seems pretty popular now (even if it wasn’t at the time). I know it’s a lot of work to do this, but it was a great idea, the novelization (sort of) of your campaign.

  19. bigandscary says:

    This might not be feasable with the parties resources, but the simplest and best way to do this would be to fire it at the sun. Allways in sun light and if it eventually hits the sun…boom, end of story.

  20. Miki says:

    I guess we all come in rather late to help the actual players, if they ever needed it.
    I would suggest investigating “Neereno”‘s plan. It would probably help making some sense of the situation, and maybe give them a hint of Mordan’s current power, which seems a crucial element a this point.

  21. George A-H says:

    Great job Shamus, this is such an amazing read and makes me want to play D&D even more. Although this idea is probably way to late too help; what about the spirit of the mountain? Maybe it has something to do with this or could help, if it’s in that kind of mood. Keep up the great work.

  22. Blaine says:

    While having not played a similar campaign I have played Word of Darkness campaigns and the adventures recounted here (especially and the group interaction the feeling towards the NPC character Beck) are pretty close to what my own group has experienced. Its a interesting read, despite me stumbling onto at this date.

  23. Justin says:

    I just started playing D&D. I got a pre-published campaign for x-mas last year. I’m even later than everyone else here. ;) but what about this:

    They could get ahold of a Sunrod. That has light power equivilent to the sun? That should work, at least to bide them time. I think they’re best bet for getting advise is Sagemaster. I really hope they find him soon.

    On a side note, this has been amazing to read. I don’t know if you still check this site (probably not) but I have injoyed this SO much. I never got a change to be a Character, I was thrown straight into DMing. It’s a blast, but I envy your ability to create such a detailed, and well-thought out campaign. I look forward to reading the rest. ;) wish I woulda caught this a couple years ago.
    Justin

  24. Arelion says:

    I am also dreadfully late, however I had to say something because this story is so remarkably incredible! Thank you very much Shamus for transcribing it for our reading pleasure. I have not read any further so my advice for the characters at the moment would be to somehow find away to free the spirit of the mountain, or failing that go see the Elven guy that helped to seal the orb the first time.

  25. Robsta says:

    When the first fact about the orb was reviled (the one about ownership), I figured the players should decipher the orb a bit more, then sell it to an unwitting merchant. I’m sure Eomer could pass it off for a gem of some sort.
    Later deciphering shows this to be the actions of a generally evil party, not the one playing this campaign. (anyone played hot potato before?)
    For dispensing with the orb, a strategy emerged by the sixth reading (the one about mass death) to get a willing peasant to take it to sea and destroy it (first taking ownership of it). If none are willing, Eomer should be good enough of a con artist to trick someone into doing so. Later, when finding the orb’s blast centres around the owner, it wouldn’t even be necessary for the orb to be destroyed at sea, only the owner to be at sea. This eliminates the possible chance that the orb falls into the sea before it is destroyed.
    Shooting it at the sun did cross my mind, but was disbanded readily as beyond the means of the party in question. Also disbanded was the idea of having someone run/boat across the world with it’s rotation to keep the orb perpetually in the sun.

  26. Torre says:

    Hello! This campaign is truly fu*#ing GREAT!!!
    I really envy your players for having such a DM…
    On the other side I’m also lucky, I have a pair of DMs that rocks…
    However, for that advices… It is really hard, and the first idea I come up with is: “RUN AS FAST AS HELL”.
    On second thought, however, I came up with a simple but effective plan. Sunlight you said? There is a divine spell that fits their necessity, isn’t it? And a 400 years old powerful elf befriended to the party, so add to my first sentence “To YOUR FRIEND SAGEMASTER AND ASK FOR A STONE OF SUNLIGHT MAGICAL ITEM”. Oh, yes, explain the mess you have caused, maybe he knows more…
    Besides you can kill various time that hideous lich, until he gets too weak to be a treath.
    Or made the wiz send a Invisible Messenger to the lich, declaring he handles the orb to him (the lich)(if I guessed right, the orb does NOT need to be in possession of it’s rightful owner) Mordan wont refuse, because he will regain his full powers, but then the party can safely destroy the Orb, because evry bad thing will have it’s ccenter on the OWNER… Voilà, the lich is one step in his grave, if not already buried by the death spell! Obviously this will cost a huge amount of lives (likely the Island of Mar Tesoro), so PGs will not be so eager to do it… Maybe sealing the lich in a anti-magic prison could be a good idea, so that the death spell doesn’t expand…
    By the way, I’m from Italy, and again, GREAT AWESOME WORK pal!

  27. realpc says:

    neereno…im dyslexsic so i read things backwards first thought in my head: One Reen well theres an LotR referance.

  28. Kel'Thuzad says:

    I’ve never played D&D. I’m reading it more as a novel, and it’s quite interesting. You should take this as a compliment; you really are a good writer.

  29. tofraley says:

    Great campaign you’ve got here. I’m going to go ahead and post this before I read on. If I were one of the players (assuming they are around level 5, i can’t remember), I would want to find more information. I seem to remember their main goal was to get back to Grey Moor (right?), so the war here and the mountain might not concern them as much as the lich that they released themselves. Once they know more about Mordan, they might find some other way to defeat him or destroy his Orb. Perhaps the Queen could help. Or even the imprisoned Fiore?

  30. Triggerhappy938 says:

    My prediction? The wizard will be the death of you.

  31. Musoeun says:

    Last time I was in a campaign and we had to deal with a lich, my character avoided the TPK for us by running like heck. Everything else, gone.

    So no ideas, I don’t know the rules well enough. From reading way too much fantasy, though, I suggest: free the spirit of the mountain. That should do it.

  32. Trae says:

    Bobulus, the amulet didn’t give off sunlight. It jut glowed with a light that basically told what time of day it was. Effectively a watch.

  33. Dhamon45 says:

    I saw someone mention dedicated people willing to die to destroy the orb. If you could get one of the elite guards to understand the ownership, it could be destroyed at sea, as that same guy mentioned.

  34. Gabe says:

    My first tip is one you may find useful to general DMing, to do with your NPC problem. It seems to me Beck hasn’t really done anything to impress the party, thereby earning the PC’s respect. Endo’s badassery after his 7-year guardianship of the town. Seeing his ‘response’ to the mocking and bullying probably earned everyone’s respect, making them value his opinion. To the party, Beck is just a drunk thats tagging along with them, whereas Endo is pure badass, just the kind of guy players will respect and listen to. Sorry if I’m ranting about this, but schools about to start and I need practice writing.

    I remember about a year ago, before I became a DM, we made a nemesis out of a lich so we found a level 40 wizard to help us! He had us do most of the legwork, but his effortless dismissal of powerful offensive magic that would have destroyed us made me(I don’t know about the rest of the party) feel sort of powerless. That DM did use far too many epic-level characters, but his role-playing and sense of humour made up for it I suppose. I find many of the solutions presented above bear the same problem, having someone more powerful solve your problems for you, which is almost always very unsatisfying for players. One solution above that I liked was to trick the lich into accepting ownership of the lich then destroy it, but this would kill too many people, possibly including the party. I suppose you probably have a solution already planned, so it would be a waste of time on my behalf to contemplate a plan for you.Sorry about the length of my rant.

  35. Vallarthis says:

    Personally, I love turning encounters into engineering problems, so the idea of flinging it into the sun has a special fascination for me. I’m thinking, “world’s biggest trebuchet”…

    Of course, a spelljamming vessel could solve the problem with one good throw. Not exactly a low fantasy approach, though.

    If the party can find a volcano with no one around for a hundred miles (an island?) and dump owner and orb in together, that should do it. This relies on some convenient geography though.

    Yet, even if the orb is successfully destroyed, someone still needs to take out the most recent incarnation of Mordan, no? All in all, I’d have to agree that they’re screwed.

  36. Karn says:

    Late reply but
    From what I’ve read so far, asa a player my first guess would be to rush to a temple of sun-worshippers or whatever comes close to it, as they are almost always of good alignment. Explain the predicament to the clergy to hopefully get their assistance.
    Then, either get them to build a sanctified coffin-like container to re-seal the Lich, or (as Mordan doesn’t become owner without killing the present owner) leave the orb at the entrance of the temple, kill Mordan when he tries to reach it, and repeatedly Spawnkill him until he proves too weak to resist a Dismiss Undead spell cast by the remaining clergy members.

  37. Rayen says:

    late late late… lessee my cowardly character who was evil would probably steal the orb give it to the lich and beg it for mercy. the job of the other palyers would be to make sure i do not do this.

    My thief/rogue would probably be doing what they are doing now.

  38. mistercoffee says:

    Self sacrifice and a small sailing boat. Sail to the middle of nowhere destroy orb … So sayeth the paladin.

    Now for something that keeps everyone alive, I’d say open a portal to the plane of fire and give it a toss, the heat there should destroy it.

    For 5th level characters I’m seeing a lot of problems with dealing with this thing. Not enough in the way of crazy spells or powers to deal with something that kills everyone in 100 miles and raises them as undead.

    Mr. Coffee~

  39. mazer says:

    If the players are still looking for advice 4 years later thier in trouble, but I’m gonna weigh in anyway.

    I was shocked that no-one pointed out to Nareeno that they agreed to do the job in exchange for 6 sets of traveling papers, it seems an easy enough way to help Beck without inconveniencing the party in the slightest.

    Also if one of the queens guard was forcibly drafted and brainwashed, isnt it reasonable to assumbe the rest were too? Arent they supposed to be a good party? (at least some of them?)

    seems i wasent the only one to think of the self-sacrificing boat trip, but wouldent it be better to use glibness to get Noreeno to do the self-sacrificing? http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=185

  40. Buschmaki says:

    The only advice I have is to abandon the orb. I would gift-wrap, give it to the queen and get the hell out of there.

  41. Roninsoul7 says:

    Really way late, but the possible solutions are too various to number. Access to higher level magic in the manner of paying a mage and a good knowledge of where a volcano exists would help. Teleport the stone into a volcano, then kill the lich and each time it resumes it’s shape it is perpetually destroyed, not only that, but 100 miles around a moderately active volcano is usually a pretty much dead zone anyways, so when the orb itself succumbs to the volcano, not much damage would be done.

    • The Dark Canuck says:

      Again, way, way late, but there’s an idea. Enchant the orb to be fire immune, then drop it in a volcano. Go kill the lich, then let him burn to death repeatedly as he reappears. No death circle forced-the orb continues to survive-no heroic sacrifices, just one repeatedly roasted lich. Only problem comes is if the lich himself manages to get fire immunity-then you’re in some trouble-but that has to be handled separately.
      Alternatively, if the characters know enough, teleport is 100 miles/caster level. Teleport straight up with the orb, Contingencying something powerful to destroy the orb immedately when this happens. At a high enough level to cast Contingency, you’ll easily get high enough that it just won’t matter, and so long as the Owner can’t fly, well, the falling damage would finish off the Lich anyway. I can’t find a description of Gravespawn, but simply setting the thing off in the middle of the ocean will just kill a lot of fish and other such animals. If 1/3 of them turn into undead, it could be a significant problem. Likewise with anything else-if gravespawn can “spread”, then the worst problem might end up being all the dead bacteria and such. Evil, undead plague. Better to go up, where nothing’s there to become undead.
      Can’t figure out how to keep the sacrificial victim alive just now though, if he has a way out alive the lich could take advantage of it. Contingencying another teleport could work, but that takes a MUCH higher caster level (CL 24 at minimum). Still possible but more difficult. True Resurrection would also be a possibility, again requiring a higher-level cleric.
      That’s just how to keep him from coming back, of course. Doesn’t help get rid of the lich in the first place.

  42. noodlehat says:

    Greetings from the future:
    What’s pressing on my mind as I read this is that the land is cursed to be consumed by war. I would either try to accrue assistance to cure the spirit’s curse or leave the land. Even if they manage to put someone worthy into power, we know that they can never free the land from war without healing the island’s curse.

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