Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

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TorgHacker
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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:46 pm

I...uh...think I'll let Brian answer those.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Brian can answer those. ;)
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GeniusCodeMonkey
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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:14 pm

graethynne wrote:Hi there - following are a bunch of questions. First things first, I really dig this adventure, these questions aren't meant as some kind of covert criticism even though some are pretty nit-picky/detail oriented. And, I know that the answers to some of these will be "that's not important", "'it's up to you" or "you're overthinking that". Others may be things I am just overlooking that are right there in the text. Thanks in advance for your patience and your help. I am using the Fires of Ra as my deep dive into a Torg adventure to learn how to read them, and how to run them, so knowing what I need to pay attention to, and what I can comfortably ignore or hand-wave is helpful. Ok enough rambling, on to the questions.

Is Professor Plasmo part of the retribution League at the start of the adventure, or a freelancer?

Free lancer. He is there to introduce the reporter.

In the Act 3 overview the text mentions meeting two members of the mystery men and Dr. Frest. In the scene Raven is mentioned. Who is the other Mystery Man, is it Zed or someone else? Follow up - Is there any problem with Have "Diamaond" Jack there to set up the Omegatron scene in Act five?



I had this as being Zed in my game. But Jack would make more sense.


In Act 2 Scene 3 when the SKs meet Killingsworth does he offer a fake name? If not how notorious is he i.e. might his name be a give away?



Considering you get a +4 for identifying The Red Hand later on. I didn't want to spoil the double cross later, so I still introduced him as a big game hunter called Arthur.

BTW: he managed to kill 2 PC sniping with the Elephant rifle in my game, so be careful.


For act 3 scenes 5 & 6, since things are pretty different whether the SKs are there during day or night, how should this be handled? I see a couple of options - challenge calibration, Day is easier Night is more difficult so let that be my guide. Navigating the city could be a DSR with success arriving during the day and failure at night. Or is it just meant to be night cause that's when the scary/exciting things happen?



I had them arriving at the bar camp around mid afternoon, and allowed them to sleep over in the boat before tackling the city. The zombies then attacked the boat at night.

There is nothing which says how long it takes to navigate the city, so no matter what time they start, just say it takes them the whole day to get there because of going down paths that end in overgrown dead-ends etc.


Also in 3-6, is the body that is the heart of the Nightmare tree meant to be up high in a cavity in the trunk (as stated in page 44 in the paragraph under the box text) or entangled in the roots (as stated in the last full sentence of the first column also on page 44)?



In the trunk, I think I read somewhere that is how nightmare trees work.

My group ignored the body and didn't burn the tree down so it's still there!!!


Also in 3-6 and this one is a bit open-ended, because I am basically just asking for advice: how to run the sequence around the Banyan tree. It seems like the Roots and Branches are an entire area (or maybe two) that involves hide and go seek with Melmuk, and possibly the apes and Kolo and Killingsworth. But I don't have a sense of how big the area(s) are and whether Killingsworth can snipe at SKs in amongst the branches/roots and how much time navigating will/should take. Climbing to the plane is only a single action for example, but is that because it is easy or fast (the text specifically mentions it being time consuming). Obviously if they burn the tree that simplifies things immensely (as long as no friendlies are navigating the root maze), though presumably they lose the opportunity to get Cassie's notebook. Finally (I think) is the tomb entrance obvious or is it somewhere in the heart of the root maze? Trying work out whether (assuming they don't burn the tree) whether they need to "find" the temple or if it is pretty easy to identify and enter (once the specific roots growing over it are cleared). Whew sorry, that's a doozy I guess.



I stated the temple complex was large! Around the size of a football pitch. The reason why is the the snake is described as being 30 meters long and 2 meters in diameter... and that is massive, so I wanted a large area for the snake to use its stealth and the PC to search for the tomb entrance. I played this as a DSR against find. Each stage was to make it further into the tomb and not get confused by the tree roots. At the same time each round the snake got an attack in if they failed the roll.

I had Killingsworth outside waiting for them to get the bow, and sniping them if they didn't give it.

By this point they should have already dealt with Kolo, but maybe not the apes. If in daylight I played the apes as normal apes that throw things but then run away, but at night when the PCs left the tree they were waiting for them and were more aggressive.


In the climax of Act 4 scene 6, neither Senator Agathena nor High Priestess Phaedra have unique stat blocks. Are they just generic Amazons (a little surprising that the High Priestess has no miracles)? I realize that the senator dies before the action starts unless something wonky happens, but figured I'd include her in the question just to be safe.


I had them as standard amazons and that worked fine.
Bless and Healing were the only two miracles I would suggest.

That's all I've ran so far... for my 2 pence worth..



Page 59 - super minor typo "they witness the Red Hand shoves" should read "they witness the Red Hand shove" just a small one I happened to notice.

Also on page 59 the text mentions The Red Hand's "Master Criminal special ability" but I don't see it in his stat block and couldn't Master Criminal explained elsewhere either.



Megaera isn't introduced to the PC anywhere, so I would suggest she gets introduced when they meet the queen, otherwise she doesn't really mean anything to the PCs when they meet here in the vault.

Another thing to note is what happens if the Red Hand doesn't have time to throw the TNT? If this happens I would suggest another character throws the TNT to escape once they see The Red Hand go down. Player will generally target the most powerful seeming person first, and I'm 100% sure the Red Hand won't last very long with my group.


Speaking of his stat block - on page 61 Red Hand is listed with Str 10. The Power Punch says it deals +2 for a total of 14, but 10 +2 = 12. Where does the extra +2 come from?




Brawler perk.


What is the fate of General Ianthe - did I miss her mentioned somewhere, does she survive?

Regarding the Omegatron (in act 5 scene 3) does it explicitly get around the Law of Inevitable return? The text suggests Diamond Jack was part of a team that got shoved in there but he's the only survivor by the time the heroes get there.

Also in Act 5 scene 3 - I am a little confused by the secret passage layout. Is there one passage or two that connects the Omegatron Room to the Hall of Scrolls? If it is one does that mean that SKs pass the chute going down on their way from the Omegatron to the Hall of Scrolls? If there are two, I need help visualizing them i.e. are there multiple secret doors in each room or is there something about how they branch?

On page 70 What is the "wax sealed object" that is containing the pouch which contains the Mandjet plans or is it the pouch itself that is wax sealed?

Page 71 mentions that the "room is airtight" causing a loss of shock for the heroes from "failing the test". Which room is airtight and what is the test in question?

In the aftermath of Act 5 there's a note that the the heroes can "easily get" the current location of Mandjet from the Amazons. How/why do the Amazons know this? Also this is foreshadowing telling the heroes the Mandjet's location for Act 7 (Lebenon) rather than where ever it is now, right?

Are Iron Crocodile and Wunder-Mind members of RL when the heroes encounter them in Act 6?

What is the power source for the deathtrap in Scene 4? I am trying to work out why the heroes couldn't just destroy it to end the trap (my guess is that doing so would blow up the lab killing Col Cairo anyway and also losing the chance to search, bring down the whole island on the location and possibly injuring the Storm Knights as well, I but I wanted to makes sure I wasn't missing something.

Also in Scene 4 What is the Significance of the prophecy the heroes find in the lab (on a Good "Find" success)? Is a it a possible seed for a further adventure or something within Fires of Ra? I took a look at the LL DC mission referenced, but I don't see a connection to the prophecy there either.

In Act 7 Scene 1 when the Israeli fighters attack the NE forces, what is the state of the non-aggression pact? Does this break it, or was it already broken? Did the Mandjet fly over Israel to get to Lebanon blowing stuff up along the way, or did it take some other path (if it went over the water, that might explain why the Amazons knew where it was headed)? Also, roughly how fast is the Mandjet? Just wondering how long it's journey to Lebanon was, day, days, hours or some other scale.

For scene 3, on page 97 it says there should be one pulp villain per Storm Knight, but the bullet on page 98 says every living member of the Retribution League should be there possibly with some additionally recruited villains. Which is correct?

When does the Aura of Aten fail? I am guessing the answer is either when it's console is destroyed or, if that doesn't happen during scene 3 the Aura fails in the narrative transition from scene 3 to scene 4. Is that about right?

Ok, I think that is the lion's share of it. I know it's a monster, thanks in advance for helping me with all of this.

Graethynne
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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby graethynne » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:17 pm

TorgHacker wrote:I...uh...think I'll let Brian answer those.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Brian can answer those. ;)


I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair! Thank you Deanna!

graethynne
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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby graethynne » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:38 pm

Thanks for the insights Genius Code Monkey! Your comments reassure me that I'm mostly focused on the right things, and your solutions help me in mapping it all out.

GeniusCodeMonkey wrote:
graethynne wrote:
Is Professor Plasmo part of the retribution League at the start of the adventure, or a freelancer?

Free lancer. He is there to introduce the reporter.

In the Act 3 overview the text mentions meeting two members of the mystery men and Dr. Frest. In the scene Raven is mentioned. Who is the other Mystery Man, is it Zed or someone else? Follow up - Is there any problem with Have "Diamaond" Jack there to set up the Omegatron scene in Act five?



I had this as being Zed in my game. But Jack would make more sense.


In Act 2 Scene 3 when the SKs meet Killingsworth does he offer a fake name? If not how notorious is he i.e. might his name be a give away?



Considering you get a +4 for identifying The Red Hand later on. I didn't want to spoil the double cross later, so I still introduced him as a big game hunter called Arthur.

BTW: he managed to kill 2 PC sniping with the Elephant rifle in my game, so be careful.


For act 3 scenes 5 & 6, since things are pretty different whether the SKs are there during day or night, how should this be handled? I see a couple of options - challenge calibration, Day is easier Night is more difficult so let that be my guide. Navigating the city could be a DSR with success arriving during the day and failure at night. Or is it just meant to be night cause that's when the scary/exciting things happen?



I had them arriving at the bar camp around mid afternoon, and allowed them to sleep over in the boat before tackling the city. The zombies then attacked the boat at night.

There is nothing which says how long it takes to navigate the city, so no matter what time they start, just say it takes them the whole day to get there because of going down paths that end in overgrown dead-ends etc.


Also in 3-6, is the body that is the heart of the Nightmare tree meant to be up high in a cavity in the trunk (as stated in page 44 in the paragraph under the box text) or entangled in the roots (as stated in the last full sentence of the first column also on page 44)?



In the trunk, I think I read somewhere that is how nightmare trees work.

My group ignored the body and didn't burn the tree down so it's still there!!!


Also in 3-6 and this one is a bit open-ended, because I am basically just asking for advice: how to run the sequence around the Banyan tree. It seems like the Roots and Branches are an entire area (or maybe two) that involves hide and go seek with Melmuk, and possibly the apes and Kolo and Killingsworth. But I don't have a sense of how big the area(s) are and whether Killingsworth can snipe at SKs in amongst the branches/roots and how much time navigating will/should take. Climbing to the plane is only a single action for example, but is that because it is easy or fast (the text specifically mentions it being time consuming). Obviously if they burn the tree that simplifies things immensely (as long as no friendlies are navigating the root maze), though presumably they lose the opportunity to get Cassie's notebook. Finally (I think) is the tomb entrance obvious or is it somewhere in the heart of the root maze? Trying work out whether (assuming they don't burn the tree) whether they need to "find" the temple or if it is pretty easy to identify and enter (once the specific roots growing over it are cleared). Whew sorry, that's a doozy I guess.



I stated the temple complex was large! Around the size of a football pitch. The reason why is the the snake is described as being 30 meters long and 2 meters in diameter... and that is massive, so I wanted a large area for the snake to use its stealth and the PC to search for the tomb entrance. I played this as a DSR against find. Each stage was to make it further into the tomb and not get confused by the tree roots. At the same time each round the snake got an attack in if they failed the roll.

I had Killingsworth outside waiting for them to get the bow, and sniping them if they didn't give it.

By this point they should have already dealt with Kolo, but maybe not the apes. If in daylight I played the apes as normal apes that throw things but then run away, but at night when the PCs left the tree they were waiting for them and were more aggressive.


In the climax of Act 4 scene 6, neither Senator Agathena nor High Priestess Phaedra have unique stat blocks. Are they just generic Amazons (a little surprising that the High Priestess has no miracles)? I realize that the senator dies before the action starts unless something wonky happens, but figured I'd include her in the question just to be safe.


I had them as standard amazons and that worked fine.
Bless and Healing were the only two miracles I would suggest.

That's all I've ran so far... for my 2 pence worth..



Page 59 - super minor typo "they witness the Red Hand shoves" should read "they witness the Red Hand shove" just a small one I happened to notice.

Also on page 59 the text mentions The Red Hand's "Master Criminal special ability" but I don't see it in his stat block and couldn't Master Criminal explained elsewhere either.



Megaera isn't introduced to the PC anywhere, so I would suggest she gets introduced when they meet the queen, otherwise she doesn't really mean anything to the PCs when they meet here in the vault.

Another thing to note is what happens if the Red Hand doesn't have time to throw the TNT? If this happens I would suggest another character throws the TNT to escape once they see The Red Hand go down. Player will generally target the most powerful seeming person first, and I'm 100% sure the Red Hand won't last very long with my group.


Speaking of his stat block - on page 61 Red Hand is listed with Str 10. The Power Punch says it deals +2 for a total of 14, but 10 +2 = 12. Where does the extra +2 come from?




Brawler perk.

[quote]

I did track Plasmo's narrative purpose, just wanted to make sure he wasn't *also* a member of the RL :-)

I can't believe I missed Brawler ..... I even thought I looked it up and had convinced myself it did something else, like made unarmed tests favored or something....

Lots of good stuff in there though. Thank you!

Graethynne

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby JeffWalklin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:36 pm

GeniusCodeMonkey wrote:My players ended up capturing the The Hooded Cobra and I just had Lady Hourglass become the main villain instead.

Similar situation here except one of my players dropped the "Nemesis" card when Professor Plasmo showed up so now he's the main villain. That doesn't mean Hooded Cobra won't show up later in the adventure. :D

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby Greymarch2000 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:06 pm

My players have been getting in the correct mindset and letting villains go on their own, didn't even show much resistance to the ending of Act 2 Scene 4 like I expected. The Nile Possibilities have really been helping too because they often spend them on ridiculous stunts that need them to succeed, but are so wild that you can't help but give them a Nile poss for doing it, so it's a cycle that lasts as long as they're in the Nile.

I will admit, I am starting to get burnt out on chase scenes now lol

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby hawaiianbrian » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:36 pm

graethynne wrote:Hi there - following are a bunch of questions. *snip*


Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you, I was in Las Vegas. Let's see:

• Act 1, Professor Plasmo: This guy is just an unrelated Nile villain, and not part of the Retribution League.

• Act 3, Ramses Station Meeting: This is one of those things that changed between drafts somewhere. The NPCs in this scene are The Raven, Zed, Nakatomi, and Dr. Frest. I don't see any reason why another Mystery Man couldn't also be present. Shouldn't change anything.

• Act 3, Killingsworth: He's never appeared anywhere else, so despite his considerable experience in hunting, there's no reason they should know who he is. I just imagine he uses his real name.

• Act 3, Night or Day?: Whether the team explores the area by night or day depends on what the player characters do. Some groups will want to move by day, some by night. Just run with whatever they choose.

• Act 3, Nightmare Tree layout: Banyans are pretty unique trees. They have a single trunk to start, but as they spread up and out, they drop new roots from their branches. In time, one tree looks like hundreds of smaller trees fused into a miniature forest. Since this one is in a horror pulp area, it should be way bigger than they usually get, but the roots form a crazy maze. If I were running it, I'd use theater of the mind because that tends to work better for horror. But if I wanted a map, I'd use a large erasable map of some kind and declare the perimeter to be the edge of the huge courtyard, then start drawing a bunch of small circles clustered around one central circle, so that they end up filling most of the courtyard and get more dense toward the center. So let's say a circular area with a radius of 20 inches/squares (40" diameter). Off-center, put a square stone building that is about 5"x5" with one corner protruding from the banyan roots (they connect on the top of the building, so no need to erase circles you've already drawn). The door is inside the root maze. The Nightmare Tree's victim is at the trunk in the dead center, and should be at/close to ground level. Melumok is gigantic; the characters will likely see his body more than they see his head, as he wriggles through and around inside the maze. One of those wooden articulated snakes would be such a great prop here.

• Act 3, Banyan Tree complications: Climbing to the plane is only one action because it isn't very difficult, just time-consuming. In combat (pressure), that would change to a roll every round (I'd get them there in three rounds though). Killingsworth finds a good sniping nest that looks out onto wherever the heroes are; if they go into the banyan roots, they can't be targeted, but probably could up in the branches since that is much more open (Google images of banyan trees). Burning the tree destroys the plane, true, and the notebook along with it if they haven't yet gone up there. The apes only come back if Kolo is still alive.

• Act 4, Climax: We didn't have enough room for stat blocks for all the Amazons, sadly. Just use the standard Amazon for Agathena and Phaedra, though give Phaedra some *faith* adds and about four defense/healing miracles (or just use Megaera's stats, as they should be pretty close and your players will never know). The Red Hand's stats changed a little between drafts, so ignore the Master Criminal thing and just go with the stat block. His punch damage also includes his Brawler Perk. As for Ianthe, you could have her tag along as a friendly NPC to help out during that challenging final scene, or just write her out as having fallen during the insurrection or petrified by the gorgon.

––Just a note, I wrote Acts 1 - 4, and Darrell wrote 5 - 7, so I might not be able to answer the rest of the questions very well, but I'll try.

• Act 5, Omegatron: I don't believe it gets around Inevitable Return.

• Act 5, Hallways: It's left intentionally vague, because the heroes should feel lost during this scene. Basically, from the throne room there's a hallway that leads toward the library with the Mandjet plans. As the heroes walk down it, they arrive at a T intersection and can see the Omegatron room right there to the side. If they keep going, they arrive at the hall of scrolls. While there, the lockdown forces them to escape through a secret door, rather than they way they came in. This secret passageway is described as connecting to the other hallway, but I don't think it needs to––just have them slide down the chute.

• Act 5, Hall of Scrolls: The plans are rolled up like a scroll which is held together by a wax seal. If a fire starts in here, the room is "air tight" which means smoke and heat becomes a problem.

• Act 5, Aftermath: An early draft had the Amazons able to supply this information, but it was since changed. Disregard.

• Act 6, Villains: Iron Crocodile and Wunder-Mind are both members of the Retribution League at the beginning of the adventure, so yes, they are members when encountered in Act 6. (Hooded Cobra has his associates scattered across the Nile Empire handling different tasks.)

• Act 6, Death Trap: The power source isn't mentioned, but I'd say it's a generator somewhere else on the island. However, since this is Nile, the deathtrap needs to be dealt with via the process described in the text (elsewhere, cutting the power would probably be a fine solution). As for "why," your answers would work just fine.

• Act 6, Wunder-Mind's notes: The "good" result basically means this lake could be a good source of eternium, similar to the one from the Living Land adventure mentioned. It might mean something to the player characters, but doesn't relate to anything specific in this adventure.

• Act 7, Mandjet: Not sure about the non-aggression pact, but I'm pretty sure it's done at this point. The Mandjet has been destroying places in its path as it goes. It is traveling over land. Mobius wants to take down Israeli army forces that are making it hard to spread the Nile Empire to the north, so his goal is to soften up any enemy targets. It's probably been traveling for only a few hours by this point (its speed isn't listed since it isn't a "vehicle" in the typical sense in this scene, more like a location, but it probably travels about 40 MPH or so).

• Act 7, Villains: There should be one villain per Storm Knight. Use as many surviving members of the Retribution League as you can, leaving some out if there are too many, or making up new ones if there aren't enough.

• Act 7, Aura of Aten: I'd say have the heroes be responsible for this by tampering with consoles.
Last edited by hawaiianbrian on Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

graethynne
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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby graethynne » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:38 pm

hawaiianbrian wrote:
graethynne wrote:IHi there - following are a bunch of questions. *snip*


Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you, I was in Las Vegas. Let's see:


No worries Brian, hope you had fun in Vegas (not that one can talk about what happened in Vegas, due to the ancient covenant). Thanks for the detailed reply. Will consume, digest and follow up as needed.

Graethynne

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby Shayd3000 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:42 pm

I know I'm coming in late but a couple of thoughts.

My players have no clue this is a "railroad", that is because I am introducing the scenes and clues naturally, and they are just going to the next scene. I'm not a huge believer in the railroad paradigm anyway. I think the Angry GM has it right on this point. Interesting to note for anyone following his latest adventure design article - he is now getting around to trying to describe the "container" of encounters. This is something Torg has been doing since the beginning with the Act and Scene structure!

On this adventure, it is just right! We have done the first three scenes of Act 1, and already 2 Glory results. This is with only 2 players. The Robots at the tower were the hard part so far and it took playing for the critical moment and last ditch effort to pull it off - but well worth it! Tense!

On my read of this adventure, it is a mashup of Indiana Jones, Maltese Falcon, Mummy. I would not have it any other way. If there was not a chase or two in every act I would be very disappointed.

Sadly, there are a TON of typos and issues, most have been captured already in this thread. I appreciate that everyone is trying to chip in to fix them.

I might add:
  • Taunt on the Tunnel Whips is probably too low
  • Toughness on Gorgon was not fixed - is she wearing any armor or not? Assuming not. It could be interesting for her to be wearing a bulletproof vest though.
  • The survival role if not going with the Beduins seems a bit harsh. I plan on just inflicting a wound and letting the players get there if they fail it. We want the players to arrive, failing the role just means they get to suffer a little.
  • Security Guards use same stats in museum (CE) and Dreamlands (NE). Probably want to change the NE ones to bulletproof vest and MP-40 to put them in line with the Tech level.

Overall, USNA please keep up the good work. So far your "big book" modules have not disappointed and this one has met expectations. I especially appreciate that two of the maps included in the map packs are usable with this adventure. That is very helpful. I like minds eye theater for most of the fights, but sometimes the flavor of the scene really needs a gridded encounter. I also like that the temple and wandering the halls looking for the hall of records is not mapped - it will make it much more "fuzzy" for the players.

George
“99% of failures come from people who make excuses.”
― George Washington

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Greymarch2000
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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby Greymarch2000 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:36 pm

My group momentarily captured the Hooded Cobra in the train when he was knocked out by a Thunder Brew. While the rest of the PCs were discussing what to do with him the Core Earth Realm Runner calmly walked up and fired a short burst of shotgun blasts right into the back of his head while he was unconscious. He was somewhat reprimanded by the rest of the party and Snowflake.

Now the question become, to have Hooded Cobra return somehow? Seems a bit blatant even by Nile Empire standards... or have someone else take charge of the operation...


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