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Gregorius21778

[Input requested] How to hunt/navigate in the House of Dust and Ash? (SPOILER)

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Greetings, fellow GM

while brewing up some ideas for Laughing God (who sadly happend to drop his request post into the wrong forum) I started to wonder a little about the DotG-adventure "House of Dust & Ash". (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER)

 

After it is on, it assumed that a lot of NPC escape the auction site and that their is some cat and mouse game going on in the halls and corridors of the completely unlocked (but locked in regard to the outsight) House of Dust & Ash.

...but how shall the PC & NPC hunt each other? The building, the floors and halls are made of stone (as far as I get it!). This is not a material one leaves footprints on. Since no real map is given and the only determined points of interests are the auction site and the entry hall containing the Haarlock Tomb it will be hard to make the NPC & PC zick and zack about the site since in the mind of the players their are only the two points of interest the GM has established.

Any idea how this could be changed? The possibility of running all of the events after the auction as "change encounters" is not appeling to me. Had anyone used the "pre-auction time" to allow the players to strole about and familiarise themselfs with the general area?

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During the time leading up to the actual auction I will have my players scout out the complex and familiarize themselves with its general lay-out. Once the mayhem starts, this will be very handy as they will start looking for a way out, perhaps searching for it in the vaults or try to open an opaque window which turns out to be glass in front of a lamp and a wall and not allow entry outside ...

This walking around in the complex will provide the main impetus for staging your confrontations and interactions with NPCs. I tend not to think of them as chance events, but contingency events. If the pcs decide to head to the Librarium to read up on the House of Dust and Ash or the Haarlocks to gain clues to their predicament, it's very easy to start a scene with the scholar Lanus Cisten there. If they decide to head for the Gilded Widow, they will find someone there pouring the blood of adepts into the chalice in a trial-and-error attempt to identify 'the scion'. If they attempt to break open the main doors, Magyar Marshrek will be there, maybe assisting them or hoping to slip out with them.

On top of this, create some scenes/events to get things moving. Use Mourners to keep them under threat, and gun servitor squads to flush them out of certain rooms if they tarry there too long. Sooner or later, Octavia Nile will glean from the Mirror of My Blood that one of the PCs is the scion, and send her 'adept' (Ashen Tear assassin) to fetch him.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Also, hunting is not the same as tracking. You don't necessarily need a muddy path to determine tracks to hunt... maybe the various factions look for each other with auspex scanners, psychic powers, or they will overtake a surveillance station in the complex and gain access to the pict recorder security system. Remember there are also lots of adepts, advocates and troopers around that may point NPCs towards the PCs!

 

 

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Hi Laughing God,

Did you had a list of such "contingency events"? And if so, could I tease you into sharing it? :)

At the moment I plan to "cut in" HoD&A in my campaign (which is centered at the Beast House; the PC will be send there to have an eye on Magyar and especially whom he is talking to and about what).

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My PCs actually ended up having a massive fight in the auction room last time I ran this.  But I would imagine that the thousands of years of dust in the catacombs would allow more conventional tracking to be possible should they wish.  I also added a few extra rooms to the complex, mostly to give extra clues to the PCs about Haarlock and his motivations but if your players haven't explored the complex too much before this point then that allows you lots of scope for them to find things.

I did allow my team time to look around, I decided that the auction would take place over a few days so that they had the opportunity to get suspicious of and investigate the other groups as well as time for some murders to happen to ramp up the tension.  Seemed to work well leading it up to the climax.

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BrotherKane said:

My PCs actually ended up having a massive fight in the auction room last time I ran this.  But I would imagine that the thousands of years of dust in the catacombs would allow more conventional tracking to be possible should they wish.  I also added a few extra rooms to the complex, mostly to give extra clues to the PCs about Haarlock and his motivations but if your players haven't explored the complex too much before this point then that allows you lots of scope for them to find things.

I did allow my team time to look around, I decided that the auction would take place over a few days so that they had the opportunity to get suspicious of and investigate the other groups as well as time for some murders to happen to ramp up the tension.  Seemed to work well leading it up to the climax.

Hi BrotherKane

what rooms did you add?

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Uh I haven't looked at it for a while so I'll go look at my notes tonight.

One thread I had running through was a series of chapels in each of the Haarlock properties always out of the way(basement of Folly, side room in Gabriel Chase, amongst the catacombs of HoDaA).  They are laid out as an Imperial Chapel but where the altar and statues of the Emperor would be are a pair of very highly detailed and lifelike statues.  One is Haarlock's wife and the other his Daughter as they appear in the Tesseract.  Facing them in the congregation are a few/hundreds/thousands (depending on the size of the chapel) of statues also highly detailed except for the faces which are blank.  These are actually representations of members of the Haarlock line that Erasmus killed in his anger, before he became obsessed with bringing them back.

Above the alter area are variations on:

"They shall be remembered, you will not."

"That which is remembered will live on.  That which is forgotten will fall to ruin."

Increasingly they move towards variations on:

"That which is taken may live again."

The idea is essentially to highlight firstly the epic deeds and constructions that a Rogue Trader is capable of, and secondly to highlight his obsession and motivation for all the things he has done.

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I remember posting a few things about the Dust and Ash before, and I even ran this one time awhile back.  Below is what I posted pertaining to questions someone asked.

 

Master Nonesuch reveals his identity in several ways.


1) He gets attacked by a group of Mourners that get the jump on him and his henchmen. Being slightly wounded, he uses is staff to destroy one of the Mourners. While one of his henchmen, that was significantly wounded, turns into a "Slaugth" creature and kills another Mourner or two. All of this is witness by the PC's.

2) Two different factions have decided to use the mayhem as a distraction, and attack each other. This could be in a library, or a corridor junction, doesn't really matter where. Just so happens Mr. Nonesuch wants to get by this junction too. Once again, witness by the PC's, they see Nonesuch get wounded by a stray bullet/plasma/laser shot. He proceeds to take his anger out on the two opposing factions, annihilating them completely. Thus, revealing his and his entourages identity.

3) The PC's have "something" Mr. Nonesuch wants. Could be a trinket they found, or a person in their group he suspects to be of Harlock's blood, or maybe he suspects they have an item when they really don't. Either way, if the item/person/thing is not handed over to Mr. Nonesuch, he proceeds to attack the PC's group, thus revealing identity/true colors.


Other idea's are


1) Two different factions have decided to use the mayhem as a distraction, and attack each other. Could be in a library, or a corridor junction, doesn't really matter where. Unbeknownst to them, the "Children" have been released and are making swift work of everyone. The PC's happen to stumble upon this exchange of "debate," and can either sneak by or turn around. Either way, behind them they hear a large pack of "Children" attracted by the noise and blood. The PC's now have two logical choices, a) convince the two opposing factions to assist them in killing the "Children" or b) run through the wall of fire and hope the "Children" are distracted by the two other factions to leave the PC's group alone. c) (IL-logical choice) the PC's decide to attack the "Children" with no help. Proceed to have the PC's almost killed, until the two opposing factions mysteriously join in killing the last of the "Children." Questions later reveal some "Children" attacked both factions, who then decided to team up and get out of this alive, and came to the PC's rescue when they heard the sound of battle (screams, explosions, etc etc).


2) While traveling down some corridors in a dormitory wing, the PC's see ahead of them, about 100m, a group of 4 PDF troopers. That is, until about 10 Mourner's get the jump on them and take their weapons. Have about 2 Mourner's die in the ambush, while 2 guardsmen die also. If the PC's attack, the Mourner's use the survivor’s as human shields. On the other hand, if the PC's just turn around and leave, they hear the PDF troopers begging for their lives, followed by screams echoing down the corridors.

 

And from memory, I will include a few people and events/scenarios I included in my game with my players.  I gave them a day to wonder around before the auction, and even after the screening of the items before the auction, they still had time to walk around.  So like a day and a half I guess.  Now, my PC's were around Rank 4-5 for this campaign so I made people tougher, gave them bigger retinues, but also within the auction I tailored certain items that I new my PC's would like to buy and/or could buy (I asked them before hand what they would like to have as a gift one time and they told me, so this gave me something to work off of).

People at the Auction

A Snobby Richy Rich Noble with 10 other lower nobles that follow him along and laugh at his not so funny jokes.  Not to mention 5-10 Men at Arms and 1 Champion that fights in his stead if someone challenges the Noble (one of these Nobles in Vymer's bounty)

A RT (from the Beast House) with an Ogryn bodyguard and a couple Servitor slaves to carry his loot (funny guy who boasts alot)

A Heretek who disguises himself as a Techpriest, with gun and combat Servitors.

A Retired Lord-General and a few of his guards and Officers (not so like-able)

A RT with his wive and Household guards (likeable people, who just happen to be at the wrong place at the right time :)

A Rich Merchant with a Bodyguard.

A Navigator from a Renegade House with retinue

A RT named Sarvus Trask who makes a big entrance but leaves before the auction starts stating "What I seek you do not have."

An Auctionist wishing to acquire new items to sell at even higher prices.  He has a gorgeous red head with him whom he introduces as his concubine, and a couple bodyguards.  (he's actually a Cold Trader, and she works for him by getting secrets out of people)

Other people listed in the book (possibly with additional bodyguards or atleast buffed more)

 

Events

Players go down into the shanty town, and a old geezer attempts to sell the group charms and trinkets.  If asked about other items and rolled successfully (charm, barter, etc) he offers to sell them a tattered dirty map of the underground catacombs.  It appears to lead somewhere, but if purchased and investigated it leads no where.  If the PC's try to seek restitution for the item, the old man is now under the shanty towns protection and only trouble can ensure if pressured or threatened.

While exploring the catacombs on the inside, the PC's discover a cordoned off area by the PDF that has blood smears on the wall and a trail of blood on the ground.  If a successful charm and deceit roll is made, the troopers states another dead body was found but he can say no more.  When the PC's leave they hearing moaning echoing down corridors, and then around a corner.  When they check around the corner the noise stops and then a skull servitor flies at them from the darkness and zooms down the hallway they came from.  It is only carry a message to the troopers because radio waves bounce back and forth and get lost or get ghost signals in the catacombs.  Same with auspex sensors.

While the PC's are in a library area, a combat servitor barrages in covered in blood and attacks them.  It just recently killed one random red-shirt.  No viable reason as to why it attacked people, other than the files in it's cognitator are corrupted.

One of the PC's wakes up in the middle of the night to the sound of something clawing at their door.  When the PC investigates, all the see are claws marks on the door and animal looking paw prints on the dusty ground.

 

Other scary events like this, but can't recall them right now.  I'll get back to you later when I do.

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Thanks for the scenes, but my main problem right now is the scenes per se but the locations. More precisely, I need hot spots where it is believable that the different parties involved would

a) know about
b) go fo

You see, this adventure assumes that the PC and the other factions will hunt each other for a good couple of HOURS (13 are the maximum) and besides the big free-for-all at the start of it I do not see how this shall lead to anything else but really random encounters…are why the PC should go anywhere else but the door hall. 

But reduced to only this two points  things get…you now… a little linear.

Anyone any good ideas for additional areas in the House that

a) the PC could care about over the course of the 13 hours
b) could learn about during the course of the adventure?

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The PC's are going to randomly go where ever they desire unless you gave them hints or painted arrows on the wall for them.

Example of a hint:  While the PC's are wondering around on their free time, the always seem to spot the RT and his wife studying glyphs and markings in Vault #13.

Arrow on the wall:  As the PC's flee the ambush in the auction area, they spot the Techpriest run into the security station with his combat servitors as they close the blast doors behind them.

My only suggestion is to make broad ideas of events that could transpire if the PC's went there.  Like with the RT and his wife.  If the PC's investigate that area withing a reasonable amount of time (say withing the first 2 hours), then they find the RT, his wife, and a few bodyguards fighting off some mourners.  While if they investigate other areas and get there later (like 6 hours down the road), they find the RT wailing and crying holding his dead wife, with a wounded body guard near him and about 10 dead mourners around them.  Mind you, you also need to think on what the rest of the NPC's are doing.  Are they also searching for "The One" or are they hiding?  And where are they now…….  Insert random event here.  gran_risa.gif

Other places of note, are going to be places you marked on the map for them.  Nuff said there.

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Well Gregorius, the complex is huge. The entrance hall alone is extremely big so that it can be split into different "areas" so to speak. Most of the complex is simply not interesting for the PCs and one corridor is like (the hundreds) of others. Exploring most of it (apart from the interesting areas like entrance hall, crypt, reading room) makes no sense really as you can only get lost in the myriad of the very similiar corridors and rooms of "the vaults".

I just prepared a ffew encounters for the most "important" areas. Some of them depend on stuff from my own modification of the campaign and some ideas found in the forum (especially certain NPCs) in the last years.

 

Entrance hall (south – near private chambers):

Shootout between:
Octavia Nile + 2 Logician Crucible Agent and
Navigator Bryxonis + Astropath + 3 Armsmen + Officer
1 Armsman already dead
Shootout between columns
Octavia Nile tried to get hold of the Greyskin Psalter


Entrance hall (west – near the entrance)

Dialogue between:
Esergi Krin + retinue
Captain Rubio + retinue
Baron Walges Comtum + son
Standing in front of the void shield


Anywhere

The PCs can spot Magyar Mashrek shadowing them (in fact he was looking for them at the behest of the Beast House as they wanted to apprehend the PCs (Tattered Fates) and wanted to get hold of the Unbound Book the PCs got hold of)


Anywhere (near the corridors, but with enough space)

Dead with opened skull and without brain matter left:
Ogryn
Colonel with emptied Bolt Pistol dying at a wall („…the worms that walk…“) with greenish fluid at mouth
His retinue also dead and some of them at least partially disintegrated


Anywhere (in the Haarlock Crypt)

Shootout between
Vymer & Quill vs.
Belasco + 2 of his female Assassin-Guards
The former want bounty of the latter


Everywhere

Fire


Near the Reading Room

Munching sounds:
Master Nonsuch just consumes the brain from the burned corpse of Greel and the Flesh Parasites are there as well perhaps smiling towards the PCs (one of them has a burned hole in the torso)


Outside on the way to the docks

Wounded Navigator + retinue – a little desoriented, wounded and slightly paranoid (had the Greyskin Psalter in their possession)

 

At the dockside

Rubio + retinue and Esergi + retinue negotiate trustfully with the Skyship captain (all armed) – the captain do not want any armed persons on his ship (threats and money are part of the discussion)
 

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Ok, sorry to be slow with my reply about areas!

I added:

Observatory

Can be added anywhere, but I put in an extra floor at the top of the dome.  Firstly it contains some information about where Haarlock(s) have travelled and clues to other holdings that might prove useful.  Secondly it has a massive glass dome that the PCs and NPCs might consider as a potential escape route.  If the PCs get hold of it this room can give clues to the deciphering of the grey skinned psalter.

 

The Web

An astropathic choir chamber (can't remember the name from RT: Into the storm) that Erasmus had built to help coordinate the hunting down of his family.  There are loud psychic echoes partly of the concentrated hunt and partly of the day that he had his astropaths all murdered in a mysterious manner when he set off to see the Dusk Hag.  Actually underneath the floor is a clockwork mechanism that tips the occupants of the cloisters into a pit that was/is filled with the children.  I would have this mechanism start up once the countdown begins (or set off by a concealed mourner should anyone set themselves up for it).

 

The Fearsome Endjinn

An enormous clockwork cogitator that Erasmus built to calculate astrological events.  It is missing some pieces but if the PCs can find them and fix it what might it tell them?

I had it showing Erasmus' last prediction: the arrival of the tyrant star above Dusk.  The pieces may be found on mourners and as parts of the auction.  The head mourner's amulet is also required.  (I found that this amulet was such an obvious escape key that adding another use for it would throw a little doubt on that and not let the PCs escape quite so easily).

 

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