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Help my players defeat the Dowager!

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  • Help my players defeat the Dowager!

    I am currently running my first 3e game and I am about 6 sessions in. While I had originally planned on just running a large sandbox with the Bull of the North as the looming antagonist, it has become clear that my players are super interested in finding the deathlord in the nos fens and defeating her. They are now leaving Halta in the south and heading towards the nos fens. My players have not actually heard of deathlords yet and they don't know anything about the nos fens, however that is their clear destination now. I am looking for good plot lines and ideas as they journey south in search of the evil "necromancer" to the south. At some point I suppose I also need to stat up the Dowager for 3e although the players are still essence 1 (almost 2) so I think I have a while until we need to have that encounter.

    New to 3e what do I need to know about deathlords?

    I have also already introduced the pcs to Shoat of the Mire without them realizing who it was. I have also used some stitched together beast men as antagonists.

  • #2
    We haven’t had any statted Deathlords yet in 3E. We know they will have distinct personal Charms ala powerful spirits, and NOT entire Solar/Abyssal Charmets this time. Deathlord-level immortality is still a thing, but the devs have said that they will make it more meaningful if warrior Exalted take down a Deathlords through conventional means (I.e. i’m guessing they will still eventually come back, but it might take far longer, so taking one down through raw violence + GET is more meaningful).

    I’d recommend, if you want the players to take her out permanently, laying clues to who she was in life and making her implementable weakness something relating to that. That always seemed the narratively cool option for me.

    Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow


    • #3
      I'd tweak the stats of the Nemissary to suit your game; it's actually a pretty potent adversary, though one that's still vulnerable to dogpiling. Make sure you include her soulsteel powerbow and its harpoon-arrows.

      Originally posted by RadioFreeDeath View Post
      it has become clear that my players are super interested in finding the deathlord in the nos fens and defeating her.​
      How do they know she's there in your game? Especially given...

      Originally posted by RadioFreeDeath View Post
      My players have not actually heard of deathlords yet and they don't know anything about the nos fens,
      I must admit to some confusion, here.
      Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 06-07-2018, 05:55 PM.


      • #4
        Haha, oh dear, they heard rumours of a powerful necromancer and assumed it was someone in their league? Maybe remind them that the necromancer alluded to in The Hobbit turned out to be Sauron.

        I recall it being said that the deathlords aren't necessarily Essence 10 these days (and with Essence 5 being a big deal even for elder Exalts, that makes sense). Toning her down from 2nd Ed deathlord power levels is entirely appropriate. Maybe she's only Essence 6 or 7? That's still a bit much for baby Solars to face head-on.

        I suggest that she toys with them a bit. When she discovers their interference in her affairs and territory, she takes the opportunity to manipulate them into going on wild goose chases that further her ends. Maybe she poses as her own (made-up) mortal enemy and sends them on quests to supposedly gather the materials and support necessary to take the wicked witch down? Maybe what she sends them after really is the key to defeating her - kept safely beyond her reach by fortunate circumstance or a careful enemy who lacked the power to defeat her - but if they don't figure out the ruse in time they will inadvertently deliver it into her hands. Like glamourweaver says, something from her living days would be ideal.

        Or maybe they don't need to defeat her at all. Maybe her goals aren't opposed to their's, just ... orthogonal. In her contemplation of the Well of Udr, she has discovered an alternative way to end the suffering of the Neverborn without feeding all of Creation down Oblivion's throat. Of course, it isn't without serious complications or consequences for Creation, but would remove a number of powerful existential threats from the world (the Neverborn and the deathlords). Maybe she has found a way to allow the Neverborn to pass through Lethe and be reborn, with the catch being an Ambition 3 Void Circle necromantic working (and all the nastiness that would entail), AND having newborn primordials unleashed on an unsuspecting Creation, for better or worse (you thought young Solars were trouble?).

        "Measure of Hope is right about everything." - Wise Old Guru

        Currently running an Exalted 2.5 Abyssals game in a homebrew modern shard because I value neither my time or my sanity, and I'm loving almost every minute of it.


        • #5
          Out of interest, do you actually want them to fight the Dowager? Or is it just something you mentioned and they've run after, and you feel you have to because it's "canon"?

          I once off-handedly mentioned to my inexperienced, 0xp players that they had to solve the beastmen invasion problem by themselves, because Nexus and Great Forks were busy with some necromancer guy called Walker in Darkness. So they decided to go defeat this Walker in Darkness guy so Nexus and Great Forks could then send armies to help them against the beastmen.

          It was not at all the campaign I'd been planning to do.

          So, if you don't actually want them to fight the Dowager (as you said, she might be too powerful), you could always say she's left to go do something else, and there's a new necromancer who's taken over the Nos Fens.

          "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"


          • #6
            Or give them a situation where they can defeat her without direct combat against her. Maybe she’s delved into the Well, and the PCs could defeat her minions and smash and block the Creation side of the Welltrapping her wherever it leads for the foreseeable future?

            To use the aforementioned Lord of the Rings analogy, remember Frodo and Sam didn’t need the power to destroy Sauron in direct combat to defeat him.

            Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow


            • #7
              Perhaps the Dowager is working on her own demise, as it were. I have searched many tomes of black lore, scoured the witless souls of a hundred scholarly spectres, and listened to the soulsteel walls of the Tri-County area surrounding the Dowager's lair. Should the Shoat of the Mire, tormented yet perfected by the Dowager's endless cycles of cruelty and generational culling, yet show the Dowager a single action of undisputably true filial piety, or demonstrate a moment of compassion true enough to elicit a genuine tear from the Dowager's eyes, the that witch of the Farthest East shall be rendered mortal forevermore. All Deathlords work, conscously or subconsciously, towards their own inevitable destruction; perhaps the Dowager herself seeks release? You players might as well pray that it is so.

              Or maybe, if some film is to be believed, the Dowager may only be killed by falling architecture, and the crimson slippers upon her soles shall be rendered as weregild by a throng of murderously joyous moppets.

              My advice would be to seek the Shoat, regardless. Day and night, month by year by hour, the Dowager works the grinding houses of the Well and Time to perfect her instrument. Perhaps the Dowager is not safe from her own vorpal blade? Or perhaps the Shoat's absence will simply annoy her into exposing some other dread weakness.
              Seekest thou the child, and from the child's grasp, the Bane.

              Popping in from time to time.