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My Thousand Thrones (spoilers on the original)


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#1 valvorik

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:58 AM

I plan on running at least the first 5-6 chapters of the Thousand Thrones (minus Chapter 2), having scoured internet fora of postings over the years and reviews and hacks etc, including useful ones here.

My take, turning on the real reason those elves are poking around the Crusade.

One of the “mysteries” of the Warhammer world is “what happens to the boys?”  In Bretonnia, children with the gift of magic vanish often as babes.  The girls reappear later as damsels but the boys are never seen again.  Various theories of dark plots by the wood elves of Athel Loren are whispered, how they use the Bretonnians as puppets, the girls as their pawns and the boys…. Even these rumours do not dare do more than speculate on various wild possibilities.

Canon has never clarified this (to my knowledge), and I'm fine with canon leaving mysteries for different game tables to use.

Without revealing what happens to “most” of the boys, here is what happens to some and in particular one who is now known as Karl.

The wood elves have a couple of pre-occupations – keeping their bond with Athel Loren intact (it’s not a sure thing), protecting Athel Loren, fighting chaos (as the main threat to Athel Loren) and other threats such as undead.  Many of the boys may go to further the first (part of mystery still) perhaps but some at least are used to further the latter two.  Humans are handy bulwark/cannon fodder/guard dogs depending on metaphor.  Guard dogs perhaps, as occasionally a keeper gets fond of one but only in that “good dog” sort of way.  Humans are of course frail, easily corrupted things – weak instruments against Chaos often turned into instruments for Chaos.

 A mysterious and reclusive kithband (the black ops CIA types, creepy/scary/extremists even to the other creepy/scary/extremist wood elves) has a special project. Some of the male children with the gift are suitable for a ritual that harnesses their gift and sets it permanently into a fixed pattern.  They can then never channel magic as they become instead charismatic, very healthy, very lucky people (Karls– and thus reason elves particularly are less affected).  This makes such boys, when they grow into men, into ideal champions against Chaos – leaders of men, able to rally the weaker humans.  The arrival of a large cadre of these would spell the end of free-willed human society as it would become a demagogue-dominated military state dedicated to fighting Chaos – not a good thing if you’re a human really - an apocalypse of sorts in fact but hey, that's what you get having wood elves for neighbours.  This kith band of elves raise and train (brainwash) the boys and then put them into a timeless sleep – gradually building up their “sleeping army” of champions against the day it is needed.

The Lahmia discovered part of this secret, at least the Lahmia queen in Silver Pinnacle did (she doesn't really know what the wood elves are doing but she knows they take the boys and make some of them special in this way).  She found this as she searched for a vanished Bretonnian boy born under the signs prophesying the birth of the Scion which her divinations revealed to her would be a key to great power.  That the Scion is a boy with magical gift who the Asrai have made a uberman is a promising start for the Lahmia Queen's vision. A kidnapping was orchestrated to bring the boy to the Queen.  Most of the black ops kithband was slain, he was kidnappped (still a babe) and smuggled out via Bretonnia through Marienberg but fate turned against the Lahmia. 

Pursuing Asrai caught up to the Lahmia and nearly all on both sides were slain.  A lone Asrai (female) escaped with the precious child, fleeing into the Swamp – suffering from poisoned wounds.  The mutants found her as she lay dying with the child. [So the record is of a dying elf woman with a child that appeared human].  Both sides received no information back from the confrontation and thus were unsure were to look to solver the mystery each faced – both fearing the child slain (though the elves feeling that better than discovered).

The factions are thus - Chaos Cultists who found out about a strange child when the Shallyans started making inquiries about Karl, Lahmia vampires who then got onto the trail of their lost merchandise once the Crusade became public (and rival Strigoi vampies etc.) and last arriving, the final suriving members of the Black Ops Kithband.   Behind all of this, there is still the question of the Scion and Nagash of course.

This allows first few chapters mostly as written I think (I'm less interested in the Black Witch/Kislev aspect of campaign).

Does anyone see any gaping Warhammer-canon holes in the theory?  Any ways to leverage it even more in the campaign?



#2 ezradenney

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 04:44 PM

Interesting. I am actually planning on using the Thousand Thrones in place of Something Rotten in Kislev in my current Enemy Within Campaign. I like your take on it more than the Black witch stuff. Especially since I currently have a wood elf in the party (although, he has a long way to go to survive to TTT..)



#3 valvorik

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 03:46 AM

I too have a wood elf pc which is part of what started me thinking about "those elves" in the book and as I considered "who and what Karl is" recalled the elf-baby-snatching mystery which lead to this idea.  Though I like it enough now I would still use it if the wood elf PC vanishes and is replaced by a dwarf.



#4 valvorik

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:03 AM

Expanding on my plans above, and welcoming/asking for comments/suggestions.

The elves in question are the Arhain-Sec kithband (I made up name, something short enough to be remembered but hopefully sounding kithbandy).

I've decided the Cult of Nurgel gets involved mostly because a large group of ill-organized travellers is a good prey for them, not because they are the masterminds.  So we can have the fun of disease etc. but they're not the ones at heart of things.

The real mastermind will be a Tzeenthian daemon imprisoned in human form as a punishment a couple of decades ago (failed to kill Lord Magistrate Heismann von Bruner before the latter revealed various plots and smashed a cult in Altdorf).  The daemon is mostly known now only as the mysterious crime lord "The Tilean".  I'm doing this partly to use Tzeentch Changer of the Ways cult as the principal foe and work in a background NPC that knits together a couple of player threads in my setting.  Per some internet ruminations generally on the Thousands Thrones campaign, Tzeentch seems the best cult for plots etc. and has more support in terms of WFRP3 cards than Nurgel (at least from my sorting of the various creature and action cards into groups, I have a ruinous-power specific stack and a generic daemon stack, Tzeenth's much better than Nurgel's). 

Tzeentch is also good at dealing out Corruption (reviewing actions for his critters) and I like that - disease and corruption are two of my favourite bits of grimness.  I love critical wounds of course but heroes recover those pretty well (though the pace of this campaign will stop them from too easily recovering completely between highlight points, which I like - I liked that about Gathering Storm's structure and want to emulate it).

The Tilean seeks Karl as a much better mortal form to be possessed of (so like Ruprecht in original, wants to possess boy).

Luthor Huss will have been through Marienberg shortly before Karl was revealed, preaching how the Comet signals a time of hardship and also a champion to come to face it.  This will have paved the way, by accident, for the crusade to form (or not so accidentally, who can say but that Huss was manipulated into travelling there).  He was gone by time Karl revealed.  Karl's story is from the same overall template as Valten's is (I don't know if we expect to see a Storm of Chaos in this edition, we do seem to have both good NPC's like Huss and villains like Archaeon that figure in it - personally I would rather see a reboot/reimagining and not a remake myself).
 

 



#5 Boehm

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:02 PM

 sounds like an interesting twist on the original 



#6 thePREdiger

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 03:46 AM

 awesome story - I am starting TTT myself this month ;)



#7 valvorik

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:27 AM

Thanks, not sure if you found this through link or not, Crusade of the Child thread outlines my version.

I have had fun 3rd-ing it with homebrew location cards etc.  Just showing heroes the "Crusade" "location" card for wandering about investigating it with the "double chaos star:  you meet a charming boy…." line put tension into their rolling.  I created a special card for anyone who does become a "Karlist" with some benefits from the condition (and also uber modifiers against believing bad things about Karl) so that being a "Karlist" has its up side.

I still feel around Chapter 6-7 it jumps shark (I think in a fair number of others' views to from various online reviews etc.).  Still lots of good ideas and fun situations to minebut repeating things (really how often can Karl be kidnapped etc.), red herrings (multiple session all chasing false lead) etc..  Good to read those if only to do that or take stuff forward (e.g., Brother Markus and the Veil should really get mentioned lots earlier).

I'm still ditching Black Witch/Kislev and making the dreams etc. all really the Lahmia at work (in part because vampires have turned out to be of interest to players in couple of threads of story) or if I'm really feeling evil the Strigani Grandmother Lucinda (who can roll up Yaga and other NPC roles) is much more puppet master than she appears, feigning service to the Old Fathers (Strigoi) with an agenda for the Strigani themselves.  She's well established in earlier adventures in my campaign as knowing more than she lets on and having an ability to pop up in right place that is uncanny. That she is a PC's grandmother and he is about to become a Vampire Hunter would make it very apt for her to be pushing a "let the vampires all destroy each other and leave us in peace" agenda.



#8 Herr Arnulfe

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 07:24 AM

valvorik said:

I still feel around Chapter 6-7 it jumps shark (I think in a fair number of others' views to from various online reviews etc.).  Still lots of good ideas and fun situations to minebut repeating things (really how often can Karl be kidnapped etc.), red herrings (multiple session all chasing false lead) etc..

There are alternative hooks into Ch7 for GMs who feel their players won't be interested in pursuing Karl a second time, and those hooks are elaborated in Ex #2.



#9 valvorik

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:48 AM

Thanks for pointing out Expansion 2, I will likely be drawing on it.  I'll see how it goes in terms of how much of the published version I use.

Ahmed (Otto in my version) is the nephew of a PC so hopefully that would be enough to draw heroes to rescue him, though actually I may end up using that hook well before and I dislike using the same hook etc. more than once (no Karl is missing, Karl's double in trouble etc. more than once) although variations are fine (Karl may not be missing, you may know who he's with and where and that may be what the problem is).



#10 Herr Arnulfe

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:30 AM

valvorik said:

Ahmed (Otto in my version) is the nephew of a PC so hopefully that would be enough to draw heroes to rescue him, though actually I may end up using that hook well before and I dislike using the same hook etc. more than once (no Karl is missing, Karl's double in trouble etc. more than once) although variations are fine (Karl may not be missing, you may know who he's with and where and that may be what the problem is).

 

The other potential hook is to chase after the triptych (on behalf of either the Skulls or the Hammers), although that one would require a little more work because it doesn't link neatly with Madame Yaga/Dream Magic (which gets the party as far as Wurtbad before the Morrite hooks kick in). The triptych hook will have more weight if the PCs explored the Necrarch's Tower at the end of Ch6.



#11 Timofeo

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 02:57 PM

I was wondering if the Thousand Thrones has to be set after the Storm of Chaos or could it be a year before, I havent read into that much just wondering.



#12 valvorik

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:34 PM

It's after Storm, Valten etc. has taken place.  That is woven a bit into it, the mess post Storm etc., but not such that it is impossible to expunge those bits and ignore the Storm (which is what I'm doing)



#13 crimsonsun

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:54 AM

I ran TTT campaign when it was first released, I found the Witch stuff to be the least interesting, and I really do not find that a proper dungeon crawl works for this game in any edition and I found the witch to be very uninspiring. I very much like your take on things and with the wood elf stuff it does not contradict any cannon I know of to date and even if it did I would not let that stop you.

As regards to the campaign itself, chapter 8 I totally reworked because its almost page filler with no content, chapter 9 great ideas but its a dungeon crawl, Chapter 7 is my favourite but it needs a ton of work/extending, I found the chapter was trying to impart so much information even I as GM was getting lost in specifics, but all the stuff within it is pure gold but getting the information to the players was kinda like playing pin the tail on the donkey with what players were expected to/needed to attempt to progress the plot! (When I played the TTT none of the expansions had been released either) I love the words of power vampire stuff and am using that as one of two major plot lines I have planned for my next campaign.

Chapter 6 was a lot of fun, partly as I wrote up an actual play from the bits posted (very short mind) and had all the players (and myself) act it out with bonus to performance rolls for good roll play but still requiring performance checks to see how the crowd responded. This was a lot of fun, throw in the action, and a few more action scenes and we were laughing all the way though.

Chapter 5 was cool, my players didnt even go in the house, they found the garden etc and were like look a horrible house of nurgle erm no, this was following there encounter with those Hornets which were pure death. The dungeon maze thing is about as much as a crawl as I think you should do in warhammer so was pretty much perfect.

The early chapters were all good, I understand why people do not like chapter 2 but the whole chicken story with high level characters was great, my players were throwing a proper fit on the lines of What? Pardon? we are Heroes! I am not going looking for a chicken! And also at the chapters end when five more vampires flew in, they though the writers had been smoking something they should not, moaning but in a comical fashion about any situation in which the party is opposed to 6 vampires!

I very much enjoyed the series up until chapter 8, so I would change a lot of the story if I ran it again, also the whole Karl thing, half my party were not duped and thus were constantly looking for chaos mutation so far as to look at his aura in magic sight (I had Tobias shielding his mutation with his magic so my players did not just assassinate the boy from the start!) I was also very disappointed  by the way the vampires were presented, considering the wealth of information and stuff in Nights Dark Masters to the extent the I re-wrote everyone with proper rules, abilities etc.

Good luck, and I very much enjoy reading your game sessions so keep them coming!

 

Crimsonsun


The Question of Khaine

    "A God named Khaine, A God of Murder and death and bloodshed, only the willfully blind could not see this is none other than the Blood Lord Himself, cloaked in one of his many guises to beguile and trick those who might otherwise repel him!"

-The Liber Chaotica


#14 valvorik

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for sharing thoughts. 

My players have sort of skipped past couple of chapters to chapter 7 (at least that is what them letting vampire get hands on him will mean).  I am using the expansions such as Akana and Hungerwood and trying to space out some of the background 1000 thrones mysticism revelations mostly crammed into chapter 7.






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