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Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign

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Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign

Unread postby icycalm » 10 Dec 2020 01:54


First off, you should read my thoughts and directions on Paizo's line of "Player's Guides" for their campaigns that I posted in the Runelords campaign thread for the D&D2 group:

All that stuff applies to you too, so we can skip straight to the fun part here.



Unlike the Runelords and Crown guys, you get no tips :(


Unlike the Runelords and Crown guys, whose campaign traits are optional, yours are mandatory. You have to choose one of them.

Even before Curse of the Crimson Throne begins, you and the other characters have a shared trait—you’ve all been wronged, in some manner, by a local crime lord, the despicable Gaedren Lamm. The campaign you are about to begin starts as you and several others are brought together to do what the city guards cannot (or will not) do—to see that Gaedren Lamm answers for his crimes, be that in a court of law or at the edge of a vengeful blade. Presented here are six ties to Gaedren you can choose for your character, historical snippets that explain how this detestable crime lord has affected you in the past. Each trait presents an unfortunate event, painted in broad strokes so you can customize it to your needs, that helped shape your character. Once you’ve selected a trait, pick a benefit that matches your own concept for your character. Feel free to adapt and rework the particulars of your chosen trait to fit your history. So long as you have a reason to see Gaedren pay for his crimes, you’ll have a built-in reason to take up a life of adventuring and, more importantly, a reason to bond with your new companions. You’ll also get a nice bonus that’ll help you along your way in the ordeals to come!

Most of these traits assume that your character spent a significant portion of his childhood in Korvosa, although a few of them allow for more widely-traveled characters. For the most part, though, Curse of the Crimson Throne works best with characters who are natives to Korvosa, so that's what we'll go with.

You were hardly a model citizen as a child or young adult. Your reasons for turning to a life of crime may be varied, but what matters is that you eventually fell in with a certain well-connected and notorious crime lord named Gaedren Lamm. His reputation as a snake and a treacherous scoundrel was known to you, but for reasons of your own, you chose not to turn him down when he offered you a chance to work for him. You may have assumed you were an exception, or that you’d be able to handle him, or perhaps even planned to betray him. As it worked out, though, Gaedren got the upper hand and took you down first. You may have served time in jail, may have been beaten by his thugs and left for dead, or could simply have had your profits stolen out from under you. Whatever the cause, Gaedren wronged you, and you are eager for the chance to get revenge.

Choose one of the following benefits.

Hungry for Revenge: You’ve never forgiven Gaedren for his betrayal, and have vowed to make him pay for what he did. Whether that’s seeing him rot in jail or a shallow grave, you hope to taste vengeance someday. Whenever you deal damage with a melee weapon on a creature that is flat-footed, you gain a +1 trait bonus on the damage roll.

Reformed Criminal: You’ve given up the life of crime, and managed to talk your way out of any repercussions such as jail time or fines. You’ve told yourself that you would rather leave your past behind, yet the concept of seeing Gaedren Lamm pay for his crimes still appeals to you. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks, and Diplomacy is a class skill for you.

Someone you know has become addicted to shiver, a drug distilled from the venom of tropical arachnids known as dream spiders. The drug induces sleep filled with vivid dreams, during which the user’s body shakes and shivers, giving the substance its street name. You’ve always thought of shiver as a problem of the lower class, but then someone you know overdosed on the stuff. You’ve done a bit of investigating and have learned that the villain who got your friend addicted in the first place was a crime lord named Gaedren Lamm. Unfortunately, the guards seem to be focused on the bigger dealers. They don’t have time to devote many resources to what they’ve called “a bit player in a beggar’s problem.” It would seem that if Gaedren’s operation is to be stopped, it falls to you.

Choose one of the following benefits.

Addicted Friend: The addict is a friend or lover who might or might not have survived the overdose. Your research into the drug scene and local politics has given you a respectable education in street knowledge. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks, and Knowledge (local) is a class skill for you.

Personal Addiction: You were the addict. You blame Gaedren for your brush with death and hate how his drugs are causing similar problems among other youths. Fortunately, your body recovers quickly from toxins, and you gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saving throws.

Someone you know and love was accused of murder. A supposed eyewitness account from a local fisherman seemed to be enough to seal the case, but the accused had enough alibis that sentencing wasn’t immediate. Someone confronted the fisherman and discovered he was intimidated into providing false witness and forced into planting the murder weapon by the actual murderer—a local crime lord named Gaedren Lamm, whose thugs killed the fisherman before he could recant his testimony. Although this removed the key witness and resulted in the accused being set free, the stigma was enough to badly damage the accused’s reputation. If you can find Gaedren, you’re sure you can find evidence that ties him to the murder and can clear the accused’s name.

Choose one of the following benefits.

Dropout: You were the one accused of the murder. Although you were eventually freed when a friend confronted the fisherman and got the truth, the damage had been done. You were forced to leave your school or church. As a result, you were forced to self-train and promised yourself you would become better at your chosen profession despite the spurning of your peers. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Spellcraft checks, and Spellcraft is a class skill for you.

Family Honor: The person who was framed was a family member, perhaps a father or sister. You managed to trick the fisherman into revealing the truth with your skilled tongue. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff checks, and Bluff is a class skill for you.

Someone you loved was knifed to death in a dark alley one night. You were called to the scene by the Korvosan Guard to identify the body, and as rough as that was for you, you also noticed a ring was missing from your loved one’s finger. Whoever murdered your loved one stole that ring—you’re convinced of it. You’ve done some investigation on your own and recently found the ring for sale at a local merchant’s shop. To your great frustration, you can’t yet afford the 500 gp to buy it back, but the merchant did tell you from whom he purchased the ring: a man named Gaedren Lamm. It seems likely this criminal killed your loved one, or at the very least, he knows who did. The only problem is finding him.

Choose one of the following benefits.

All Alone: The murder victim was a lover. With your lover’s death, a part of you died as well, leaving you haunted, grim, and prone to dark musings. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Intimidate checks, and Intimidate is a class skill for you.

Orphaned: The murder victim was your only surviving parent. You had to work hard to make ends meet for yourself and any siblings, and often had to scavenge for food. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Survival checks, and Survival is a class skill for you.

You suspect that a child you know has been abducted by Gaedren Lamm. Whatever the relationship, you’ve heard rumors about “Lamm’s Lambs,” and of how the old man uses children as pickpockets and agents for his crimes. You’ve even heard rumors that the child you’re looking for has been spotted in the marketplaces in the company of known cutpurses and pickpockets. Although the Korvosan Guard has been understanding of your plight, it has its hands full with “more important” matters these days, it seems, and has not yet been able to learn anything more about Gaedren. No one else is interested in bringing Gaedren down and rescuing his victims—that task falls to you. Yet where could the old scoundrel be hiding?

Choose one of the following benefits.

Missing Sibling: The missing child is a brother or sister. Although everyone else has given up hope, you believe your sibling still lives. Your constant search for the missing sibling has developed into great skill at rumormongering and finding out information from others. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks, and Sense Motive is a class skill for you.

Missing Son or Daughter: The missing child is a niece or nephew, or a child you were charged with protecting. The child was abducted during a trip to the market or other daily event. Your stubbornness and long hours spent searching for rumors grant you a +1 trait bonus on Will saves.

You spent a period of time as one of Gaedren Lamm’s enslaved orphans, doing all manner of dirty work for him. Maybe you were abducted from your parent’s home or during a trip to the market. Perhaps the irresponsible matron who ruled your orphanage traded you to him in return for a desperately needed financial loan. Or perhaps you, like most of Gaedren’s slaves, were merely a child of the street who succumbed to his promise of regular meals and a roof in return for what he said would be “a little light work.” Whatever the case, you spent several years of your life as one of “Lamm’s Lambs” before escaping. You’ve nursed a grudge against the old man ever since.

Choose one of the following benefits.

Religious: While on a job for Gaedren, you found a holy symbol of the god you worship, and intrigued by it, you snuck off to attend services. When Gaedren found out, he beat you to within an inch of your life and broke your holy symbol. Your faith let you block out the pain, and you escaped his control and took shelter in the church, where you spent the rest of your youth. You gain a +2 trait bonus on concentration checks and Constitution checks to stabilize at negative hit points.

Tortured: After you made one too many errors, Gaedren tortured you and left you for dead in a garbage heap. Your scars and memories have motivated you to hone your reaction speed and make you rather jumpy. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Reflex saves.
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Unread postby icycalm » 17 Dec 2020 22:45

Updated the overworld with the following text for Korvosa:

Korvosa, the Jewel of Varisia, has long sparkled on the shore of Conqueror’s Bay. Established just over 300 years ago by Cheliax at the height of that empire’s expansion, the city now commands its own destiny. A line of Korvosan kings and queens emerged to rule the city, establishing an infamous seat of power—the Crimson Throne. Rulers have sat upon the Crimson Throne for more than a century, and the city has flourished; yet the monarchy always seems on the brink of disaster. The Crimson Throne is not a prize to be won—it is a curse. No monarch of Korvosa has died of old age, and none has produced an heir while ruling. Even though King Eodred II controls Korvosa more fully than any previous monarch, that control remains tenuous, and many secretly count the days until their latest king falls to what they call the Curse of the Crimson Throne.

Note that the overworld will be a living document, so eventually this description will be replaced as the world evolves. That's why I want some text recorded in the campaign threads in the forum. So that they will make sense to people who read them long after the overworld has changed.
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Unread postby icycalm » 05 Jan 2021 10:21

A DM-made a trailer for Curse of the Crimson Throne for his group:

It's pretty much spoiler-free, and quite epic, all things considered. This DM is definitely a good one, and I will certainly look into creating trailers myself now that I've seen what can be done with them.

How cool would it be if you had a trailer like this for every campaign or even adventure, before picking it? On the other hand, none of them can be 100% spoiler-free, because then you'd have nothing to put in them...
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Session 1 - Nicolas' account

Unread postby Saf » 28 Aug 2021 16:58

Chatlog: ... ion-1.html

This tale begins like all our tales began: with the sins of Gaedren Lamm, a notorious Korvosan crime lord who'd abused all of us, and who knows how many others, in various ways over the years.

The timing was suspiciously perfect. Our dreams of retribution were half-hearted, leads dry. It was in the midst of routine altar cleaning that I discovered the harrow card with a message on the back.

The author knew of Gaedren's transgressions, and bade us go to their home at sunset. The others received different harrow cards in different ways, but the messages were identical. It stoked in us a flame of hope.

We met at the front door of the quaint cottage of our mysterious benefactor. We swapped confirmations and promptly knocked to no response. The dwarf barbarian jumped to the conclusion that it was a trap, and I had similar reservations.

Still he boldly entered, and we followed. We found ourselves in a threadbare, fragrant room adorned with colourful tapestries. On a table was another note, asking us to wait for the author of the messages we'd received, and help ourselves to bread and drink. Some of us still suspected the others.

This didn't stop the dwarf from helping himself to bread, and the bard unsurprisingly uncorked the wine. Moments after, the true orchestrator returned. The dark-haired Varisian woman was older than us but fair in her own way.

We learned the true nature of our gathering while the woman idly shuffled her harrow cards. Introductions were made: here was Nilvalor the half-elf paladin, whose brother went missing years back. That struck a chord, and I revealed my past as a kidnapped child and slave. The dwarf was Gerkin, and he too had grievances. The bard Jubal mentioned his sordid addiction to shiver. The rogue Kaleb once foolishly worked under Gaedren, but had the same bitter tone of hatred in his voice we did.

Finally the woman revealed the sad tale that made us kin. Zellara was in hiding, fearful that Gaedren would do her harm. He had stolen her harrow deck and in retrieving her precious heirloom, her son Erlan had been murdered.

The Korvosan Guard was useless, but through inquiries and the divination of her cards, she discovered Gaedren dwelt in a nearby fishery, training children for miserable deeds.

Before waiting for agreements, she began to perform a harrowing to help us in the task of tracking down Gaedren and bringing him to justice with our own hands...
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Session 1 - Jubal's viewpoint

Unread postby schadenfreude » 28 Aug 2021 17:13

Curse of the Crimson Throne - Edge of Anarchy 1 with schadenfreude: ... PWcT9Qpixx
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Session 2 - Kaleb's account

Unread postby Ciaróg » 18 Sep 2021 19:02

Chatlog: ... ion-2.html

I didn't place much faith in the cards but the fortune-teller did a good job of rounding up people who wanted Gaedren's blood as bad as I did.

I had a bad feeling as soon as the dwarf stormed off, incensed because apparently he didn't like his fortune.

The bard wouldn't have been much help in a fight but I started wondering whether I'd be the only one who would remain after he followed the dwarf.

I was relieved when not only did nobody else leave but a latecomer even joined us. A young-looking wizard.

With no other leads on Gaedren I of course jumped at the chance to head to the docks with what appeared to be capable fighters.

The place, an old fishery, seemed deserted from outside. I led the way around the back since I am accustomed to that kind of work.

We found a derelict ship and decided to climb aboard to try to find a back entrance to the fishery.

No sooner had the second person after me, that young wizard, jumped aboard than disaster struck.

The deck's floorboards were rotten and he went straight through them. I heard a cracking sound followed by a cry for help and something about spiders.

I wanted to help if I could but no way was I going anywhere near the ship's rotting bow. Instead I opened the cabin door looking for a way downstairs and something leapt at me.

A drain spider, about the size of a cat and all legs and fangs.

I kept swinging my rapier but couldn't land a decent hit on the damn thing and neither could the cleric who soon caught up with me.

Eventually the paladin smashed it, I don't know how he hit it with that massive sword of his.

By that point, I hadn't heard from the wizard in a while.

I wasn't risking my life going down below when it was so dark for someone I had just met so I cautiously approached the hole in the deck and caught a grisly sight.

Four or five of the spiders were tearing lumps out of the poor bastard's corpse. We'd struggled with just one of them in such tight quarters and after a brief moment of solace we decided to leave the body be and keep moving.

We had a way in at least, a boarded-up window on the back of the fishery could be accessed from the ship's deck.

I started doubting my new companions when I saw the paladin try and use a greatsword as a crowbar but he proved himself physically capable at least by throwing his weight on the boards and snapping them in half.

I thought the paladin seemed to have some elven blood in him from his facial features and when he could see a mass of children huddling in the dark in the middle of the fishery when I could barely detect movement my suspicion was confirmed.

I let the other two go first this time and followed when the kids remained silent. Climbing through the window we dropped to the floor of the fishery and the others started trying to reassure the children we weren't there to hurt them. It was at that moment a dog burst in the room and started yelping.

That's when I realised we were fucked.
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Session 2 - Addison's viewpoint

Unread postby ysignal » 18 Sep 2021 20:36

Curse of the Crimson Throne - Edge of Anarchy 2 with ysignal: ... PWcT9Qpixx

My character died at around 3:08:13. R.I.P.
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Session 2 - Tactics

Unread postby icycalm » 18 Sep 2021 21:39

We'll be discussing tactics in the campaign threads when appropriate, between sessions. The players will normally be discussing them between themselves (and players from other campaigns are also free to join in the discussion), but as long as they are new to the game I'll also be joining in and trying to help them understand the game.

There's quite a lot to say about the last session, especially considering we're about to start the next one and it'll be a tough one, easily the toughest played in Battlegrounds so far, in the most complex environment and encounter so far. So I'll start this off with what was discussed on Discord and then add some new comments at the bottom.

@CULT|ysignal I think if you want to play a wizard again you should go for it. We just have to be more careful next time and maybe let others go a little ahead first since you're be so unprotected with the low hp/lack of armour
or maybe a sorcerer

Your tactics sucked. Your tanks hanged back letting the guys without armor and low HP go ahead. Then when ysignal got in trouble you dithered because you “only knew him for three hours”. So of course a wizard alone didn’t even manage to get off a single spell. He could have killed a couple spiders on his own if he was properly protected. You won’t even finish a chapter if you keep up this bullshit

Yeah, we should have gone ahead of him
I failed the climb check too lol

And because we let him fall into that trap none of us were able to get to him in time to help him out. We'll have to play a lot smarter when going into obviously dangerous situations like that.

I think our approach of having the quietest guy go first doesn't make that much sense. It only works if he can see the enemies without them seeing him. But when he crossed over into the boat, if that room had been full of enemies, I think they would have seen him, rogue or not.
I definitely shouldn't have gone on the boat second, either.

If you roll well on your stealth, enemies won't necessarily detect you. But since we were so close to danger it would have been better to stick together with the tanks in front rather than having anyone scout ahead

Would a check have been triggered when he crossed over into the boat though?
I think it's gambling a lot on not being seen. And then what does it buy you? It seems like you can back out of the battle at that point. But if you go ahead, you need to have the tanks in front anyway.


It didn't even cross my mind that there might be danger in the room because Ciaróg had already checked it out. But I realise now that it's more complex than that.

Yeah anything can happen, it's not limited by simple video game rules
I shoulda stopped you

I'll probably roll another wizard or sorceror.

In a 4P group, you don’t have much choice. The group needs an arcane spellcaster
The other three classes are more optional. You could substitute a second priest for the paladin or a second warrior for the rogue or a second paladin for the priest. But you need the spellcaster for the higher levels
As you unlock rule books there’ll be dozens of new classes so there’ll be more options further down the road. I am curious myself to see these classes, since 2E doesn’t have that many
The “trap” was serious but not game-ending. Whoever fell through would have been in trouble, but the paladin and probably even the priest would have survived long enough for help to arrive
Even with the wizard falling, he would probably have survived if Ciaróg‘s thief had jumped down to absorb some of the attacks, and the extra 2-3 rounds this would have bought would have sufficed for the others to join the battle. The group would have survived the battle even if one or two characters ended up unconscious and thus the assault would have to be postponed. This would still have been preferable to losing a character for good and taking the entire compound on with 25% less of the force
There are times when you should retreat, but a four-spider battle isn’t it

My bad. I assumed I would take fall damage if I went near the hole in the rotting deck so I went through the door down instead. That triggering a fifth spider really threw me off.

The fastest way to get to him would have been to jump down the hole
I've no idea what the rules are for that, we would have looked them up
I am not saying it would have been the most reasonable move
But the whole party just sort of abandoned the wizard there
And you won't get far in any campaign with that mindset
Of course the wizard shouldn't have been there in the first place
So it was one giant error after another

Now, the entire gang is about to fall on you, and your only hope of survival, the way I see it, is Saf's Channel Energy ability. shock used it in their last Rise game, and I was astounded by how strong it is. It makes the cleric 2-3x stronger than a D&D 2E 1st-level cleric. For D&D it would be super OP, but I guess Pathfinder is balanced for it. That's how the fishery can be beaten, because with judicious use of this power (meaning you huddle together so everyone can be healed at once) you can top up everyone's health several times during the encounter. Otherwise the encounter is nigh-unbeatable. I told dan when I saw it that "they will die there". There are some sneaky ways to improve the odds in your favor, but so far you haven't managed any of them, and I don't see how any of them can help now that the whole place is alerted.

I am not giving anything away by saying all this, by the way, because you've already triggered the fight. Even the dog will attack you the moment we start, and he's no bad fighter either lol.

All the above comments pertain to the fights themselves, but there was plenty common sense stuff you could have done before the fight to improve your odds. First of all you could have conducted a survey of the ENTIRE surroundings of the building, before choosing an approach. The north side you didn't check at all. Even better, you could have staked the place out through the night, looking for guards on patrol etc., to figure out how many they are, what kind of classes, etc., where they sleep and so on. You could have even waited the entire night because in the morning you'd see all of them, and you could get an exact headcount and the whole lay of the land. Granted Zellara told you to hurry, but if you're staking the place out you'll see if anyone tries to leave. More exotic approaches for example would be burning the place down and smoking everyone out, though that might have impacted the children badly. At the time though, you had no idea there were any children.

And I am sure there are other approaches I haven't even thought of. I am just trying to give you an idea of what is possible in a real role-playing game, because it's evident that apart from Saf you don't know.

At least I was glad to see you try to sneak around the back instead of barging in the front door. You were doing damn well up until the point ysignal went through the deck.

And to mention also my mistakes, not just the players', I shouldn't have required a check for climbing up the ship from the dock. The description said that the ship's railing was a mere one foot above the dock, so it was a simple matter of stepping onto the ship, or off it for that matter. I was sleepless though and my mind was barely working, which is why I didn't even try to give you any advice, as I was basically watching the proceedings in a kind of amused daze, more like a movie than a game I was running lol. It was only when someone died that I woke up, and by then it was too late.

I also hadn't realized exactly how green almost all of you are, and I had naively assumed your CRPGs and XCOMs would have prepared you for the combat. Now I realize the mistake, and I also realize the error in launching everyone on giant complex campaigns. These are the longest and most complex RPG campaigns EVER. They ramp up so hard and fast that by the time you're 12th or 13th level even people who've been playing D&D and Pathfinder for DECADES complain that the game gets too complex and every round of combat takes half an hour. I should have started you on much simpler standalone adventures, where we don't much care if you blow it, and there's ample time for side-adventures, which are again not crucial. And after a few months of this, you'd have been ready for a full campaign. Problem is the full campaigns in Pathfinder begin at 1st level, so they're no good for us when you've reached 4th or 5th level—which is where D&D's full campaigns typically start (well, for editions before 5E, because with 5E Wizards copied Paizo and now also starts the cool campaigns at 1st level).

Anyway, what is done is done, and I have no regrets because we ARE playing the best campaigns ever, and showcasing the best the game has to offer. I'll just have to be helping the groups with some tactical advice and hints from time to time, until they can stand on their own two feet.

So, you're about to be brutally assaulted in a very complex fight where your odds look grim, but if you stick around Saf and play decently, and the rolls favor you, you might just make it out of the fishery alive. And remember, retreat is always an option in D&D, though I've no idea how you'd even get out of that place at this point...

Above all have fun, because this shit is fun af. And good luck.
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