X10 timing after x4/x5

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BotWizo
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X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by BotWizo » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:13 pm

My question is now how long do you wait to run x10?

I have been running a campaign where the players have been on the following path.
Old Caves
Mystamere
X1
X6
x4/x5

In my current campaign the players defeated the master in x5 and just raced the war plans back across the desert. Do you feel this is the right time to kick off x10?

Or would you wait for Darokin to route the masters leaderless armies in the first war, then kick x10 off when the players run through Darokin at a later date?

Many years ago I ran x10 several modules and adventures after x5, however looking through x10 text I am not sure what the intention of the original authors as to how quickly x10 should follow x5. For our original campaign we bought x10 quite a few months to a year in real world time after I bought x4 and x5. (this dates me since I was buying them as they were new releases)

I used to use it like a world war scenario where x4/x5 were ww1 somewhat and x10 is roughly ww2.

I liked the shock that players went through with the master done and gone and then bam a new invasion a year or more later.

Thanks for any insight.

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:46 pm

Honestly, from a storytelling perspective, I think X10 should probably be run before X4/X5. That doesn't work out mechanically, but the background of module X4 better fits with an early invasion that is repelled by the Republic that then goes off to chase the Master's army down. As a sequel to X4/X5, X10 requires some definite retrofitting (or at least a better explanation of the Master's resurrection than is provided in the module).

None of that necessarily is a help here, though, so my suggestion would be to take a closer look at the Master. IIRC, the Master's level in X10 is substantially higher than in X5, so maybe extrapolate an approximation of how long it would have taken him to rise to that level. Several years, at least, I'd say.
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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Mike » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:16 am

Well you know more than I, since you've already run these while i am in just now running X2 for the first time. I plan to run them back to back, basically what you said you did the first time. But I'm not going to let them face the master in X5, he will escape and they chase him back to Darokin. One reason is that I'm running this in fantasy hero with *very* powerful PCs, and if I let them meet him toe to toe, they will probably gut him like an orc. Instead I think they'll encounter a flunky (using the master's stats) and find out the real master is much tougher.

I do like the idea of running X10 first; politics are fine with lower level characters. Problem is why would the master retreat to the temple when Darokin is in his grasp? It would make more sense of the climactic battle of X10 is at Baratpur, and the end of summer. Everyone goes home for the winter, and the PCs need to stop the master before he resumes invading in the Spring, and Sind is still disputed territory as in X4.

If they killed the master, perhaps X10 is an even more powerful evil ally. Maybe Jaibul or someone from beyond Hule. Maybe the master was just one of a ring of conspirators.... a dragon? Aztri-Voca?

X10 could tie in nicely with X11. Let them think they won and get stated with the shadowlord, only to discover Hule is back and badder than ever. Which one do they stop, and which one do they let win? That makes the politics more important since they are stretched to thin to do it themselves. It also delays things.

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by BotWizo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:12 pm

Thanks!
Well I know the original intent was x4,x5 then x10 since it is explicitly written in them for that path, I was just wonder how long to wait for x10.

Waiting a while gives the "luke I am your father" effect. The surprise of, that dude is back again?
Back in the day we waited since we were leveling the party between x5 and x10.

It's what I set in motion this week, I was just wondering if others just went straight up x4,x5,x10.

Mike here is some info that might help you plan your campaign.
Spoilers:

The thing about killing the master in x5 is... you have to kill him 2x. And Alrethus as well. So two main opponents use the same trick in the same module.
What has happened is the party ends up killing some of the main foes 2x and then they sit around wondering if they are really really dead.
This does set up the reasoning that the master can be back in x10 even if you defeated him 2x in x5.

this has tended to change the party behavior some since the authors use the written trope a little too much. They start slaughtering and burning everything to make sure dead is dead.

Here is why;
The number of magic users magic jarred in the adventure is 3.

1) You have the black altar in the black woods where an magic/user - Gallus can take the body of one of the pcs.
This encounter seems kind of jerky to me, but is in line with older modules. One player if they fail a save looses their character.

2) you have the magic/user ALrethus in the masters section C of the temple who is magic jarred and his Jar is in section A, so you kill him, but as a DM you can bring him back for revenge, and you probably will/should.

3) you have the master, a Cleric who is essentially magic jarred and his real body is in section B. So you kill him, he then wakes up in B, organizes foes you bypassed etc, and there is a second final battle with the master in his real body.

If your party is lucky, but None of the parties in the three times I have run it have done this; you can destroy his original body in section b and then the master is dead with no fight. (not sure why this was done, I would think it would be anti-climatic.)

I understand why you can fight the master twice after Dming for my children, unlike my friends they took the skeleton ship, and fought the master on the top level as the first encounter in the temple of death. this was an exciting twist, for me as DM. It changes the temple of death.
The party faces the full force of a prepared master, and I brought many of his top allys with him, so this was a very long and brutal fight.
I think this was my favorite progression through x5 as a DM, but you have to be ready as a DM for this path, it's harder to wing.

If your group goes in and tries to sneak and fight to the master (more or less through the temple in a,b,c or d,c,b) its sort of do we have enough to beat him as far as party resources for the climax.

If you fight him first, its then do we have enough party resources to get out alive, and oh no he's back and really mad at us.

What I have noticed in past campaigns if you let the party fight the master, then they have a visceral response in x10 to he's back? we will kill him for good now...
This makes some of the final x10 battle interesting because they are trying to obliterate him and he is taking no damage. Parties somewhat forget about the dagger and the gem even if you have strongly dropped hints, and they just see red and go all out at him.

I wonder how my current players will react when he returns. this time.

You may not get that from not "defeating" him if they face flunkies or a proxy in x5.

When they were new, we ran x4,x5, several other adventures, x10 then x11. when we started x11 we were sort of war weary in that campaign. We ran them serially because we bought x11 right at the end of x10 it took us a month or so to get through x10 then x11 was released. (this would have been mid 80s)

I may use your idea of running x10 and x11 simultaneously for our current campaign, thanks for the idea. It could add a neat twist.
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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Mike » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:46 pm

I had not considered those dynamics. Very interesting. I'll have to think about this some more.
Thanks!

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Patrick » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:48 am

In my opinion, the perfect time to run X10 is whenever you have a stable gaming group who are interested in a bit of wargaming mixed in with their D&D, and a secure spot to store the map & counters between sessions :P

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Sturm » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:48 am

I ran X5 and the players did not find the real body of the Master and did not kill him. Then I had Hule descend into chaos as I decided the Master feigned his death was real. The plan was later to get rid of his enemies and return. I never get to run X10 as the group dispersed, but I would have let some years pass in game time, and months or more in real time, so when the Master would have returned the players probably would have been convinced the Master was just an impersonator who had taken his identity, and maybe discover the truth only at the end.
Anyway as Master is a title and not a name, it makes sense that people and nation would not be surprised if a new Master appears even if it had been supposedly killed. Everyone would just assume there is a new Master.

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Mike » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:29 pm

Speculating...

The Master is a title, but isn't Hosadus using that to hide an extended lifespan? Perhaps there were other "masters" that preceded him, or maybe he is a new pope-like figure who reorganized an existing religion and consolidated it under his authority. Everyone may think Hule has had many masters since the "hulean reformation" hundreds of years ago, when it has only ever been the same guy.

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by BotWizo » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:55 pm

Yes Master is a title and Hosadus is the "being".
When I read through x5 this time I read it as everyone thought Hosadus did great and he is our "hero", but then it seemed like many knew he was hosadus and general populace thought the "young man" was another master.
It is sort of cloudy as many of the modules of the time are so you can run it how you like.
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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Sturm » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:29 am

Yes I always interpreted that the people thought each one was a new Master, while secretly Hosadus was always in charge. However should he really die, it would be easy for another cleric or even a wizard like Alrethus, to step in as a New Master and the people and other nations will hardly understand something has changed.
Still the new Master may not have full control or support of the nation, hence in my campaign a civil war started in Hule (and something similar was also depicted in the Fan Almanacs).

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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by BotWizo » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:28 pm

Did any of you turn the Desert green in your campaigns?

It's been said on Bruce Heard's blog and I think here a few times that both the Sind desert and Ylari desert should not be deserts due to climate models.

I was thinking now in my current campaign to run a modified temple of elemental evil and Agianst the giants in the Black mountains area, then x10.
When the elemental evil and possibly the cap of the master defeated in x10 the desert would start to turn to normal climate conditions which would be grasslands at start.

I threw a lot in that run on sentance, but essentially at the end of x10 the desert starts to green.
Anyone else try something similar or use another way to green up the desert?
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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by Dartamian » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:17 am

BotWizo wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:28 pm
Did any of you turn the Desert green in your campaigns?
...
Anyone else try something similar or use another way to green up the desert?
There is always the water from the Well of the Moon in the Great Pass that could turn the desert green (at least a portion of it, unless someone is really dedicated.). Maybe turning a critical portion green this way allows the prevailing climate to convert the rest?

Sounds like something that would upset a lot of druids either way.
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Re: X10 timing after x4/x5

Post by BotWizo » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:15 pm

I didn't think of Druid conflict angle, that will be fun to add to the mix as well.

Since the Desert is unnatural it sets up a good scenario of Druid factions.

I am moving ahead with plans to run a modified Temple of elemental evil followed by Giants campaign.

Likely at the end they will be in akesoli and then I'll have x10 kick off.

I let campaigns and adventure plans go where they will so it should be interesting to see the route it takes to get to x10.
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