Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Players going Chaotic Neutral, NPC becoming Lesbian for Winged Moon Elves, and a special mechanic for my version of Into the Abyss.
This was the end of the filler before we return into the Temple. The party—with fewer members this time, only seven showed up—managed to take care of the Hill Giant and the Black Earth cultists converting the villagers of Westbridge. They were too late to rescue some of the villagers in town from the cult’s influence, but enough villagers were able to hold them at bay. The mayor gave the heroes 100 GP and I granted the party Fast Travel along the surface thanks to Sedina Wolfpaw’s messager’s service.
With that, the party returned to the Temple, with the help of a map drawn for them by a cultist they captured. Given a choice between the four entry points (One of them already cleared), they chose to enter through the Featergale Spire. I sped up the scenes there, mostly to get the party back to the dungeon, I only have little more than a Month back in standard time, but also because the party characters are acting a bit, how can I call it, Chaotic Neutral? Performing for the Feathergale Knights, attempting to steal everything that isn’t nailed down, Kyle’s reincarnated character, who is still having some scatter brain a la a Gallifreyan regeneration, asking whatever any insignificant item “is it a node?”
It’s not a good sign when the person behind the DM’s Screen is laughing like someone who lost his marbles, especially if that person is known for being autistic.
Fortunately, John, one of the more experienced people on the team (the one who DMs 1ED campaigns) had an idea. He cast minor illusion to create a pot of gold for the party to jump on en masse. It was the Knight’s time to get a good laugh at the party’s expense.
And then they go back to the main business. Instead of Savra Belabranta being present but under the control of the Prince of Elemental Air, Yan-C-Bin, I had her swooned into a romantic relationship with the Air Prophetess, Aerisi. She’s become as reverent in her belief about Elemental Air being the savior of her hometown of Waterdeep as she is passionate about the winged elf. I have her show up in Priestess robes (probably scantily clad with an ability to glide, and sent a bunch of large winged animals to attack the party), she then proceeded into the Temple of the Howling Hatred with the party in hot pursuit.
So now I need to make another map for the campaign table, with a setup document for what’s behind the screen. No matter. I can do that in my sleep. But there’s something I’d like to add for next season.
As you would know by reading along with the Adventurer’s League site, you know that the Rage of Demon’s season will have a Madness Mechanic into play. I like the idea, but the official mechanics, though kept within 5E’s simplicity, doesn’t have the right feel for me. I’ve designed my own Madness Mechanic based on a new attribute which I’ll playtest in my Encounter Table. I’m calling it the Stress Quotient, or SQ.
Take your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma Scores and add them all together. That’s your maximum SQ, and it works much like Hit Points. They can take damage and heal much like HP. When you need to make a Madness Check, you roll a 1d100, or take a 1d20 and Multiply it by 5, and add your current Stress Quotient. You pass when your roll is above a uniform DC. At first I decided on 100, but I think I’ll set it at 80 for my table. You roll under that, then the published Madness mechanic kicks in.
I hope to develop this mechanic to produce a more realistic portrayal to what Mental Illness is like in a RPG setting, hopefully to encourage compassion and awareness of Mental Illness in the real world. You learn a lot of real-world skills with D&D, learning about things you don’t normally hear about wouldn’t hurt as well.