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The last Sooton adventure for my Labyrinth Lord Ashford Valley setting deals with pushing the PCs to see if theyll break apart.

Temptation, frustration

By this time, the GM will have some good indication of what each PCs personal goals are, whether its great magical power for a wizard or fabulous wealth for a thief or even ascendancy in the church for a priest. And the GM needs to hammer on those while accentuating the differences between the PCs, to see if they will choose their own agendas or vanities (which would result in breaking up the group rather) over taking out the necromancer and saving the Ashford Valley from slavery and death. The PCs get involved because things start happening around them that they may not be able to solve with a sword or a spellah, yes, social situations!

Whisper campaign

The necromancer has realized that the PCs have been a thorn in his side for a while now and plans to do something about it. Hes handed the job over to an underling with orders to neutralize the PCs or kill them, whichever is more effective (though the necromancer would prefer dead and then animated to add to his legions). The underling is a clever fellow named Markus. He implements a concentrated social campaign to ruin the PCs friendships and get them to break the group up, thereby allowing some of the necromancers other henchmen the chance to kill them individually.

Markus the Mage; Human; Magic-User, Level 2; Alignment: Chaotic; Abilities: Strength 12, Dexterity 14, Constitution 12, Intelligence 16, Wisdom 12, Charisma 10. Armor Class: 8 (-1 Dex); Hit Dice: 2d4, Hit Points: 7. Attacks: dagger (1d4). Languages: Common, Elvish; Special Abilities: Spells (Charm Person x 2 prepared).

breaking up the beatles

The first action Markus takes is to charm a local and popular bard named Nile. Markus has Nile the bard come around to the PCs and get info on their adventures in order to write a bunch of songs about them. Then, using his charm influence, Markus has the bard slant the songs toward one character in particular as the main hero, with the rest of the PCs as his flunkies, and not very competent flunkies at that, but not blatantly so. Before long, all the other bards in town are singing the praises of the hero and his merry band of doofus followers. Any attempt to correct the stories will fail, as people are more likely to believe the bards than the PCs, even the hero PC. Theyll just assume hes being modest. Confronting Nile is equally uselessNile will claim artistic license or some such.

This will cause the other PCs plenty of problems, with the townsmen asking about the hero PC and whether he is as brave and selfless as theyve heard or possible employers refusing to talk to the hired help when they can talk to the hero.

Markus also starts a whisper campaign against one of the other PCs. Hell spread rumors in the various wards, taking any bit of info on the PC and twisting it. If the target PC is a wizard, then hes obviously in league with dark forces. If he likes beer, hes a drunk who fled Ashford or Clifton with the law on his trail after killing someone in a barroom brawl. If hes an elf, hes one of those dark elves that seek to enslave humans and drag them into the underground depths, never to be seen again. And thats just the beginning. The wizard was seen sacrificing something to demons last week. The drunk assaulted a woman in the Cinders. The elf has been marking those in the town who are to be enslaved and killed first, so dont cross him. And more will come. All seemingly reasonable and from reliable sources. Twisted in with these stories are the phrases like his companions dont know the truth but theyre honest and trusting sorts ... and of course hed proclaim his innocence, that just proves hes up to something .... Naturally, things will start taking their own course. The PCs will be invited to feasts and gatherings by the rich and powerful of the town, with the hero PC placed right next to the host and the rest eating with the servants (and the bad PC forgotten totally and sent away, with words like Oh, we didnt know you were coming and we havent any room, so sorry). Taverns will give free beer and cheer to the hero PC and charge more than usual to the rest. Friends will come out of nowhere, asking the hero PCs advice on a wide variety of subjects, even those he has no expertise in (that the other PCs may have).


Then the PCs will start getting hired away from each other. A local high priest will start hogging the PC clerics time, asking him to tend to the faithful or lead religious services. A thief will find companions willing to help him get more scores. A warrior will have a number of younger fighters asking for training. Employers will seek out individuals, rather than the group, paying well and allowing the PCs some autonomy from each other. More friends will start hanging around and defend their chosen PC against the other PCs (and their friends, too), subtly (and sometimes not so) cutting down the other PCs. When the group starts to fracture and fight, theyll jump in, messing it all up even more. All of these things will occur over time with Markus using his Charm Person spell judiciously to make it happen. The final phase will be to get the PCs individually to leave the valley. Such as when the PC cleric receives a summons from the lowland head of the church to come serve where he is needed. Or when a group of fighters get together and appeal to the PC fighter to lead them against a local dragon (who just happens to be outside the valley). Or a bunch of ruffians want the PC thief to start a proper thieves guild in Clifton, then when they get there they want to go to the lowlands where scores will be richer. And so on. The differences between the PCs will come to a head and jealousies will boil over. Arguments will ensue, with harsh words being said, broad declarations and even the odd threat or two. Will the PCs splinter and break apart? Who will be the first to go? Will they realize what is happening and that a malevolent force is behind their good fortune?

you can be my yoko ono

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