So, I've started running Broken Covenant of Calabeis recently, with a new group, and they were trying to get through the Veil. I've been doing this with two different groups now, amd both had severe problems getting through. Now, I'm Norwegian, and I've translated what the guides says, but the nothing is lost in translation, so to speak.
So how long have other groups spent trying to get through? First group I ran it with spent over 4 hours solving the riddles. The last group spent just over 3 hours.
Anyway, my players all hate Mormulus now, and promised to punish him severely if they ever meet up with him. If only they knew...
Thanks for sharing! I'd love to hear how they do in the next leg of their journey.
I have found in the games I've run that players have cracked the riddle in about an hour of dedicated gaming. I remember one group was really getting frustrated with it until they figured it out the secret, and then they were ecstatic. The little slips of paper really help. Is it because the clues are written in English, do you think, that it's taken them so long?
We played the 2nd edition version way back when it was 2nd edition. Sigh. Anyway we photocopied the clues and used the slips of paper as well. I think they helped alot. We did solve it and I don't remember any huge impairments. Not this was literately 10+ years ago. But I'd say an hour or so of good role playing and table talk.
Once they got it, I do remember it went incredibly fast.
Minor Spoiler ahead!!!!
In our game, Mormool became a rather um... 'respected' guest, who from time to time we gained um... insight from. Basically he didn't go away and stayed with us for several decades in our game.
Well, I didn't use the small pictures from the book, since I translated them to Norwegian. I think they would have cracked it quicker if it were in English, in fact. But the translations I did were quite on the spot.
The thing that frustrates me a bit is that my players aren't the best roleplayers. They're used to D&D, rolling dice, collecting feats and bonuses and such. I think that if they had roleplayed it better, stayed in character (which is an exception rather than the rule in my campaign, I'm sad to say), they would have done it quicker. And one of the characters was a Wend from Northern Germany with Giant Blood and Skinchanger (based a bit on the bad guys in the 13th Warrior). But that player got so frustrated with the riddle and gave up almost at once, so he didn't want to play in the campaign anymore.
I'm mostly looking forward to roleplaying the Hrools again. I have two ferrets myself, and I'm considering letting them loose on the table when the characters meet the Hrools
After about two hours I got impatient as GM and told the players that it was painfully obvious...then it took them two minutes to solve.
Great adventure I realy like it alot. I had an aditional plot hook where the PC's go there in the first place to find a magical key that Krenvalus had, so they could unlock an ancient tower they had found. So after finally finding Krenvalus' body and the key the get intimidated by the lightning trap and leave! Much to my amusement. At every summer council meeting in the covenant they talk about maybe launching a new expedition this year and get the bell of Ibyn.
I'm hoping that my group won't try to go through the whole covenant in one expedition. Calabeis is really more of a long term goal, I think, especially for a beginning group.
Also, I'm not exactly sure how to handle Pitsdim. Is there any way to resolve that encounter without getting the group blasted to ashes in a couple of seconds?
Because of the circular nature of the Calebois. Have them hear Pitsdim first. Maybe they can even see him on a lower level with out having him notice the troupe. This can basically warn the PC's that ahead lies danger.
The key there, I think, is to make them recognize early on that the ghosts don't change, and won't remember them. If leaving feels like giving up, they won't do it, but if they see that they are effectively invisible, they may view the first pass as scouting out the environment, and are much more likely to be willing to go away and come back. Realizing that the ghosts don't remember them helps them reach this conclusion; I find that both the captain and the autocrat are very good for that. The only urgency in the story comes from the missing girl and the knight. When the knight realizes he can't fulfill his quest, he may re-examine his priorities, and the mystery of what happened to the girl can be solved without delving into Calebais.
Pitsdim's first few punches are always relatively harmless, because he doesn't realize his ghostly magic can't affect them. Have him hit them with a ghostly Ball of Abysmal Flame (which might blind one or two of them, but otherwise doesn't affect them). Then, have him think aloud they must have Magic Resistance, and use Pilum of Fire to boost his Penetration. The players will begin to let down their guard, because they can see the flames don't hurt them. Now, it should occur to Pitsdim that they're the kind of intruders he has to use his "special" powers to affect, and have him say as much before he hits someone with the next Pilum. This is the warning shot that suggests they need to get away before he tries something bigger. Once they are out of sight, he can revert to not remembering them, and start this cycle over again.
To deal with Pitsdim so that he is no longer an impediment to their progress, they need to find some way to talk to him, or exorcise him, or wear him down over time. His familiar is one way, the Hrools are another, and just going back and forth will tire him out even if he doesn't understand why. He might get frustrated and start casting huge fire spells that don't have much Penentration but still make a lot of noise and can cause incidental damage to companions and grogs, but also reduce his Might much more quickly. Or he might chase the characters up to the rubble level, forget what he's doing, and start hunting rats or Hrools. If the characters seem like they're going to be killed by his fire, I usually have him switch tactics and start using spells that inspire emotion, trying to make them take his side in the conflict.
I'd love to hear more about how things go. I hope your next session is fun, and that the guy who didn't like the riddle comes back and finds things to do that he enjoys.
Thanks for the ideas. Pitsdim always seemed to unbeatable if he used his powers straight away. I think I'll see if I can use his familiar in some way.
As for the Hrools, I'm set on using them as a good roleplaying opportunity. I really like how the Hrools are made more of a puzzle to roleplay, not just like goblins to be killed.