Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
PC1, The Hanging Hideout: Following Onby David Keyser
I have a story to tell about a drake in one of my campaigns, and in fact, I consider this story to be one of my finest creations/works as a cooperative interactive storyteller with my players. So i ask...no...I DEMAND that some of you provide feedback on my artistry, whether you applaud, laugh, cry or throw rotten tomatoes matters not, just send something in reply.
First off, I reconciled PC1<>Masters/RC/Dragonlords as follows...
Mandrakes and Colddrakes are dragon kin. Wooddrakes are fairy folk or dragon-kin who eventually merged with fairy folk in terms of domain/lifespan/reincarnation. I recall PC1 really only focused on wooddrakes.
On to my story-
For those of you who have PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk, turn to that book's short adventure section. There are a few one page adventure/encounter areas detailed. The one I used is the old hsiao lair which is currently occupied by some nasty wood imps and a wooddrake named Genevieve. I originally used this as a way to cement a new player with a hsiao PC into the group, he had joined the rest of the party on a couple of adventures and now sought payment by having them travel with him to reclaim this old hsiao nest.
I didn't have any special plans for Genevieve when we started. The players start clearing out the place room by room, and in the midst of one fight against the imps, Genevieve appeared and attacked them in her wooddrake form. She got badly wounded by the halfling rogue and retreated before the imps were finished off by the party, so she quickly retreated back to her lair inside the nest.
She downs a cure potion and takes stock of her situation. The adventure text states she has no real loyalty to the imps, and it was obvious the party would likely wipe them out. Why go down with the ship? She changes to halfling form, grabs some rope and pretends to be a tied up prisoner. When the players find her, they totally buy into the deception. She ends up freed, reclaims her stuff, and they end up escorting her out of the area.
But the halfling rogue, whose player is usually the best roleplayer in the group, decided to start making romantic overtures to her. That is when I got the idea that Genevieve would start playing a long con, only to end up falling in love with the rogue. As part of her trickster nature, she would use her elven form to pretend to be a completely different person. I wanted to see if the players could figure things out, while using Genevieve and her elven form(named Gwynneth) to bail out the players when things get tough.
You know how sometimes you throw the players into a situation that really is too tough for them to figure out, and you need to send in extra support? That became Gwynneth, who the players, for a long time, assumed was a GMNPC*. Meanwhile Genevieve was just a romantic foil/camp follower with a modicum of fighting ability.
Gwynneth first appeared when the party arrived in Darokin City to enjoy the sights and wonders of a big city for the first time. They had split up to each pursue their own thing, not knowing an old nemesis had followed them into the city with a rag-tag band of other survivors from previous encounters with the party. The party started getting captured one-by-one, and when the halfling rogue was attacked he fought hard enough to let Genevieve escape, telling her to warm the others.
But it was Gwynneth who appeared to save another party member from ambush, and then help the remainder turn the tables by sneaking into an old warehouse where the rest of the party was imprisoned. In the resulting confusion of melee and fire Gwynneth disappeared while Genevieve stepped out from the warehouse claiming she was being held in a different room.
No one still suspected anything.
The pattern would repeat. The halfling rogue found Gwynneth helping him on an Iron Ring smuggling ship(U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh), and she got taken out by some sleep gas. He finished capturing the ship and went back for her, only to find her gone and leaving him scratching his head as to where she disappeared since they were half a mile out to sea.
This went on for awhile, but one PC did figure it out thanks to super-senses. One player started a lupin character, and of course his sense of smell was going to notice sooner or later. When he and Genevieve first met, he failed the detection roll, but I let him roll again when he gained a level. By this time Genevieve was in love with the rogue and she had a conversation with the lupin when he confronted her, requesting he not say anything since she would eventually reveal her secret. The player, vastly amused, agreed.
The closest the halfling rogue player ever came to figuring this out before the big reveal was the following conversation that happened when we weren't actually playing, I was just visiting and chatting that day.
"I could see my character retiring someday and settling down with Gwynneth to raise a brood of halfling pups."
"Genevieve, you mean Genevieve."
"I thought her name was Gwynneth."
"Gwynneth is the name of that elven warrior who sometimes shows up to bail you guys out when you get in over your head. Genevieve is the halfling companion."
Player gets a thoughtful look on his face, as if trying to put things together...
"So when are you going to finish painting your dwarf gyrocopter for Warhammer?"
"It is almost done, let me show you what I have."
The big reveal came during L3 Deep Dwarven Delve. That is a rare adventure so to briefly describe it, it is an old dwarven complex/mine that has humanoids on the first level, monsters on the second level, and undead dwarves and devils on the third level. There is a teleportation device with a command word that transports everything on a platform from first level to third level. Genevieve ends up chasing a retreating mage onto the platform, and they both disappear. The party makes their way down the hard way, with the halfling rogue getting more and more agitated as the danger grows. They find Gwynneth on the second level as she escaped the third level using her drake form and began making her way back up. Nobody(other than the lupin) makes the connection. (Oh we must be in trouble, Dave brought in his GMNPC once again! How the hell did she get down here?)
The final battle against the devils gets pretty desperate, everyone is low on hit points and spells. Gwynneth makes a sacrificial strike, leaving her wide open and she gets cut down, mortally wounded. Several other members of the party then take advantage and cut down the devil who struck her down before it can retaliate once again.
The players are a bit shocked I was letting Gwynneth die, only to be more shocked when she changes to Genevieve's form to tell the rogue she was sorry that she couldn't tell the truth before. Halfling rogue is stunned.
"You see her draw her last breath, and then expire. You can tell she is dead, her body has no animating life in it. But suddenly it changes and morphs once again. You now see a small dragon creature before you. One you haven't seen since you first met Genevieve two years ago, when you found her in the hsiao nest."
Bard and rogue player start protesting vigorously that I couldn't have hid this from them for so long. They point to the lupin player, "If anything he would have been able to figure it out." Lupin player replies he already knew. Their rage immediately focuses on him as I am forgotten.
I will leave out the ensuing thirty minute discussion and smoke break as each of the players recounts what they can remember of past events and how things fall into place now knowing that Genevieve and Gwynneth are the same person. But I will wrap up this story with the final exchange shared between players.
Halfling rogue player, "...so now I understand all that. What I don't understand is, why didn't you tell me?"
Lupin player, "Hey, an NPC approached my character in-game to ask me to keep a secret. I didn't see it causing any harm to the party. So I honored that NPC's wishes."
Halfling rogue player, "You suck."
GMNPC - Annoying NPC introduced by GM to try to steal the spotlight from players.