Adversaries of The Righteous - Plot Hooks, Campaigns, and Ideas

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salinea
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I agree that your assessment are always fun to read and the plot hooks are brilliant!
- used to play Exalted in the first edition as Etrangere, brought back by Essence ;) -
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Black Quartz Sphinx
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Thank you very much everybody, I do it for the children.
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Cynis Borok

Boy oh boy are they lucky they included two characters in this product. Otherwise this asshat would cost you two dollars, and a slap in the face.

It's like.... wow, how bad this one is. Like activley insulting that they charged money for this guy. The only way he's even slightly acceptable is if he came out before What Fire Has Wrought. Cause he's got some dragonblooded charms. Which might have been cool to see if they weren't out yet.

Cynis Borok is a Satrap, in a poorly run Satrappy. 

Rating: 1/10 Barrel Bottoms

Misc: There's nothing to say! This isn't even an adversary, it's a thought. "We're in a town, I guess it has a mayor... a crappy mayor."

Plot Hooks:
1. After Cynis Borok is inevitably overthrown by anything with a military, a man comes to him with a plate of gold. "Your meal." The Man says.

"I can't eat this." Cynis Borok balks.

"Then I'm confused, why did you not throw this at us, when we were storming your palace?"

"What?"

"These coins must be weapons if they are not food. These coins must be good for something. Why else were your people starving during the seige? Why else did you not bankrupt your land buying arrows to use in their defense? The only reason you would have these coins in your vault, knowing that we were coming, is because they're food, and you're going to eat them."

2. The Dragonblooded are tasked with fighting off the incursion of a Lunar and her host of misbegotten savages, they've been instructed to work with the Satrap and defer to him in all things. Too bad it's this joker, who's not only good for nothing, but actually makes things worse. His speeches make the militia desert, he sends the players to secure pointless positions, demand they make peace with negligible enemies, and declare war on real threats. Can the genius of the players overcome the enemy within and without, or is it better for them to arrange for a new Satrap to lead their efforts...

3. Cynis Borok has a charm that lets him make people forget something bad he's done to them in the past. #MeToo. Take this monster down, not with violence, but actual social justice. Put the pieces together, perform an investigation, consult the witnesses, and prove that The Realm can still work or prove it's broken beyond repair. Whichever.

4. Cynis Borok's charm only let's him make people forget ONE horrible thing he's done. This guy's been a pain for his entire life, and the players have gotten together to finally get payback and ruin his life. Not kill him. Just prank him... into oblivion. See, Mean Girls, or John Tucker Must Die.

5. Cynis Borok has a hot, rich, and powerful older sister. She's single, and for some unknown reason loves, and values her brother. The players all want her hand in marriage, but before she'll accept, someone has to earn the respect of her brother. "You guys are just using me so you can bang my sister... this is awesome! Okay so here's a list of things I need you to do for me." Hilarity ensues, as the players try to woo the sister, and bribe the brother, alls fair in love and war, blah blah blah, this guy sucks.

 
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andrix
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My feeling with him is that it's a pretty interesting take on the dynasty to have a character like this that shows the less successful side of how they do things, but seems a massive waste of a dragon blooded NPC that you're paying money for. He should be the sort of un-exalted dynast that shows up in an adventure supplement to allow you to convey a bit of nuance to the player about the sheer size of the Realm's apparatus and the potential for corruption, nepotism and incompetence you're going to get with something that size.

That said hook 5 sounds oddly fun in a cheesy way...
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Lioness
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Cynis Borok felt like a bit of a throwback to what I've expected of NPCs from 1st and 2nd edition where the state of affairs was invariably-
"Here is a Satrapy and now we feel obligated to stat the Satrap as a loser starting villain for your PCs to kick the ass of." 
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Black Quartz Sphinx
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I agree with both those takes. I was actually excited for him, just from his picture and title. I thought that it was very good to introduce a political enemy. But there isn't a whiff of novelty about this guy. If you asked anyone to describe a generic despot, they wouldn't give you anything much different than this guy. It makes constant reference to his goals, and that he'll do anything to get what he wants, yet as always, his goals aren't laid out!

Lol I got to stop thinking about this guy, sleep clearly hasn't mellowed me out.

To Andrix's point, I agree it's good to show incompetent dynasts, and I guess job done on that point. I just feel the point of these write ups is, or at least should be to make a character that's unique to Creation, or at least more complex than the base idea it's built off of, otherwise just list his stats as "Incompetent Satrap" with a bunch of other unnamed stat blocks. They don't even introduce any unique items, or mechanics with him. Just very frustrating that I can't get my book published, but someone made money off of this guy XD.
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Black Quartz Sphinx wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:24 am Before we begin a quick Mea Culpa. In Bosocu's review I made a snide remark about Cajun people seemingly being alright to stereotype. That remark appears to have been made in bad faith, I didn't see anything meanspirited in this work. There's nothing about them being illbred idiots, which is what I was worried about. In fact it's actually kind of a deep pull on Louisiana having a different legal system than the rest of the U.S. Anyway I'm glad they didn't go after the low hanging fruit when basing their design off of rural people.
I'm fortunate in that a lot of how I've experienced the US South is primarily through horror stories where the tone is generally a layer of old-fashioned hospitality that's hiding something much darker. So, my first instinct would be to make a Quaghead chapter endearing until that shoe drops such as the PCs learning they're aligned themselves with some sinister power of the swamps or that here's some dark secret to Thuvaraiyam that they'll fall prey to if the players don't help them.
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Black Quartz Sphinx
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Ragara Feria

Now when I hear someone is the admiral of the Air Fleet I get pretty excited, then I remember that the fleets are named after elements. Luckily I didn't go dreaming on about The Realms flying Flotilla for too long, like the Quagheads. 

Ragara Feria, unlike her partner in crime Cynis Whatever, is actually a character, which is great that the bar has been set this low. However she's not just a character, she's actually more fleshed out than most of the Adversaries so far. A good chunk of her section is actually devoted to detailing her opposing ideals, and loyalties. It's a refreshing change of pace. 

Ragara inhabits a position that is very unusual for her family, and the fleet in general. She's a Ragara holding a high military position, and she's a non-Peleps holding naval command. I actually thing it goes to show what upstanding folks the Peleps are that, at the current time they haven't purged their ranks of all their non-loyal officers, like all the other legions. It's interesting to think about. 

Ragara's loyalty is split between these two factions in an fun way as well. She has great Respect for House Peleps, but feels Obligation for her family. So she's kind of fallen in love with the ethos of Peleps and their ideals, but knows who took her to the dance in the first place. That's a good conflict, that could go either way, and then go either way again. I'm just happy we finally have a character who's a little bit complicated.

She also happens to be an absolute monster. Her defining intimacy is "Fear is a necessary weapon" Yikes that's badass. She's incredibly diligent when it comes to her job of hunting down pirates, if she even hears a rumor about pirate activity she goes to investigate it. The Realm needs to clone this lady. She is also an avid member of The Wild Hunt.

It mentions that she collects trophies from the pirates she hunts down, and that some of the items she has are of interest to certain devotees of the Immaculate order... is that a inside thing for people who know the lore? What is it? WHAT IS IT?!?! I have to know, what could a pirate have that could possibly be of interest of The Immaculate Order? Let alone a collection of things.

She's got an artifact rapier called Tanoa's Kiss. It belonged to one of her Ancestors, and the first thing she did as admiral is hunt down the pirate clan who took it. Now that's badass. So cool. Just a nice little story of vengeance sprinked in there as a bonus. The sword is also pretty cool, it lets her summon up a cloud of mist to cloak her ships. Talk about fear inducing. That's a great story to have in your pirate game. The fleet shrouded in mist, pirates go in, and nothing comes out but wreckage and despair. We hear many pirates speak about it in fearful hushed tones, the one day after a battle the players see the fog bank heading their way.

Rating: 7/10 Ancesteral Swords. Adding an artifact weapon is always going to boost your grade. Added to that she's the only character so far with complex motivations, I have to put my money where my mouth is. Good job writer. 

Misc. She'd be much cooler with a whole fleet of sky ships, right?

Plot Hooks
1. Your players are on the crew of her flag ship when she gets appointed Admiral, and her first order to to retrieve her family's artifact. As her officers you must help her navigate the politics of the fleet. Bring to order captains who don't trust her, manage a scared crew who's about to go up against one of the nastiest priate clans in the north, and stop their admiral from becoming completely consumed by vengeance. 

2. When the civil war begins Ragara picks House Peleps and remains loyal to the fleet. Until Peleps orders a full withdraw into the Western Isles. Ragara can't believe the admirals would completely abandon The Realm like that, and refuses to go. Only a few of her ships stay loyal to her, and the rest go. Abandoned by her adoptive family, and shunned by her birth family Ragara becomes a drunken depressed mess. But then the player characters need a commander to lead their navy in the Civil War it's time to clean her up, and get to work.

3. At the outbreak of the civil war Ragara knows where her loyalties ultimately lay and keeps with her birth family. Under their control she launches a devastating campaign targeting all merchant trading within her reach. The other side is starved, and short on supplies, but the peasents and civilians are dying off in the thousands. The players must stop this clever and elusive fleet from inflicting more pain, knowing that every day wasted leaves entire provinces without food. 

4. Whatever whatever whatever is going on with her collection of trophies. Someone please tell me.

5. Ragara joins a Wyld Hunt one day, and is accompanied by a handful of other competent operators from around The Realm. Together they lament the less than capable volunteers that have been appearing in the hunts lately, as all the powerful people are gearing up for the upcoming war. There's a Magistrate, A General, A Senator, and a mysterious fith member. They are all very capable, noncorrupt people, who decide not to let The Realm fall into the hand of the corrupt and incompetent houses. On that day over the corpse of a dead solar, they form a pact, a bond, and an organization that will seize control of The Realm and save it from itself. They will bring enlightenment to the land, and competency to the government. Already they have many agents and allies throughout the land, who only need to be bound by a single purpose. The land is in darkness but together they will... iluminate it.
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It is really throwing me that you generally refer to her as "Ragara" when I mostly see that used to refer to the House, not an individual member. Especially in your second scenario - I thought you were saying that House Ragara sided with House Peleps, not that Ragara Feria sided with House Peleps, and had to go back and re-read it to understand.
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andrix
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Got a soft spot for this one too and appreciate how she almost doesn't need hooks, her motivations and the like are fleshed out enough that you can throw her into most DB political games and just see how things go or what you need from her.

Additional headcanon is that Feria is the name of a brand of hair products so our group has always joked about her having the most fabulous hair in the Realm. This only makes her cooler
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Black Quartz Sphinx
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Yeah if I ever make that Civil War campaign book I've been dreaming of, she'd definitely be a major player!

Plus... she's pretty 🥺👉👈
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Eska The Seven Blades

Definetly the art I've been most excited about during this project. It'd pretty clear that the team knew they knocked it out of the part with her design, because she's kind of all over the Lunar book. I don't know if she's a returning character, or what, but 10/10 as far as the design goes.

On to the character!

This is our first lunar character we're reviewing which is kind of exciting. 

Eska hales from the far-east which apparently is not the place to be. She was a warrior from her tribe, and was exposed to constant warfare, until her entire tribe was wiped out. She did that revenge thing, and eventually exalted because of it. We can only assume she slaughtered them like animals, not just the men, but the women, and the children. 

She eventually gets taken in by a Lunar Elder with a hilarious name: Sublime Danger of the Thousand Daiklave Wings, and she's now his personal thug. She does whatever he requires from her, and in her personal time she seeks out conflict so that she can grow stronger, and never feel weak again.

All in all a pretty hollow character, but there's enough there to juice her for some interesting scenarios. Which I'm not going to claim is the secret genius of the writeups, is that they put a blank canvas in front of you, and sling enough buzz words around until you imprint you own ideas onto the canvas, but it feels that way sometimes. 

Some of these interesting thing are: She apparently has a very expressive face, which you wouldn't expect from an assassin. So maybe she'd be a good actress, or has a deeper well of emotions than she lets on during a fight. She has reverence for her teacher, and rivalry with his other minions, and most intrestingly she's jealous of another student's solar mate. I like the solar mate jealously, because I love love, and think there are more prosperous things for people to focus on than killing and bloodshed. So the idea that she wants someone to share her life with is sweet, even though in her mind it's probably a fellow assassin to help her on missions. But she develops rivalries so easily, I find it unlikely she'd get along with her mate when they meet up. Which is a story on it's own. Stuborness, betrayl, and allconquering love. 

Her defining Intimacy is "Battling Mighty Foes Makes Me Stronger" which is more of a rpg mechanic more than a way to live your life, but that's on her. But I mean... there's room for her to betray her master if it would make her stronger right? I dunno, it's interesting. It's just a statement of fact, it doesn't even imply she's happy with that idea. I dunno, it's worth trying if you're ever trying to engineer her betrayl. 

Also her Totem is a wolf spider with swords for feet... very cool. XD

Rating: Just for goofs I'll give her 6/10 arms. I'd use her design and stat sheet, but would definitely do some heavy rewriting on her personality and backstory. I kind of wonder if they did the writeup and then got her art? Because I dunno, I'd really push myself if I had that picture slapped in front of me, and was told to make her a character. Her backstory is so bland when compared with her design, it's weird. 

Misc: She has six blades in that picture... where's number seven? Her sharp tongue?

Plot Hooks
1. Eska's reverence for Sublime Danger is now her defining Intimacy. Her entire worldview is based around her being his tool, his weapon. She still seeks to grow stronger, but only so she can protect him and his dreams. The players encounter Eska several times, she's an energetic and expressive person who's willing to help them out with advice and fighting. And she seems to have a very positive philosophy. "We grow stronger when protecting those we love." Then things fall apart when Sublime Danger has to be taken out of the way. During the fight Eska obviously feels very bad about attacking her friends, but doesn't so much as hesitate, and can not be convinced to betray Sublime Danger. Near the end of the fight she throws herself in front of Sublime Danger, blocking a decisive attack, and dying in to process. Sublime Danger gains all the initiative from this blocked attack, and gets a chance to turn the tables on his opponents thanks to the sacrifice of his student.

2. One of the players draws the lucky straw and is Eska's mate reborn. She's excited to meet them at first, but is quickly disappointed. Her mate is peace loving, or weak, or any number of flaws she can pick out. This leads to Eska rejecting her Mate, and for the rest of the campaign ends up with her ambushing them at the worst times. During boss fights, while they're asleep, during their wedding, whatever it takes. Maybe she wins and the player has to be rescued by his friends, or maybe she keeps on losing and can't accept that she could be bested by someone like them. She could be a part of the party, and genuinely invested in their goals who just happens to attack her mate every once in a while, or a genuine wild card that could be anyone or anywhere. She also has a knack for escaping whatever restraints they put her in the moment they turn their back. Eventually the player must do something to prove themselves worthy of her, or to let her finally feel safe enough to stop the fighting.

3. Eska likes to disguise herself as children when chasing a prey. So when the players adopt an orphan from a destroyed village, they have no idea the hitchhiker they're picking up. Is Eska after them, or does she know they're going to meet with her real target, and wants them to bring her along? Get ready for a shock when the child suddenly slits a very important npc's throat. Or alternatively when Sublime Danger, chasties and berates the child for failing to kill the solars. Maybe the assassin actually enjoyed the love and protection she was getting from the party, and couldn't bring herself to kill them?

4. Tiger Lifts The Mountain, the local god of manly competition is holding an arm wrestling competition. The rules are simple: Whoever wins the most matches at the end of an hour gets the chance to challenge the god, and earn his favor. You either need to secure Eska and her six arms of fury as your champion for the competition, while disguising her status as a woman, should be easy for a lunar right? OR if you have a strength boy on your team you've have to find a way to overcome Eska, who's winning by sheer number of games played, maybe by exposing her identity to the Manly Manly god.

5. Eska has been chasing the players all campaign. She's been killing their allies, stealing their weapons, leading them to the wrong places. Now it's time to take her down once and for all. Only when the players finally face her on an even playing ground is when the big bad of the campaign makes their presence known. Eska suddenly looses all interest in the players, now that she sees a more powerful opponent for her to take on. She insists that the players take her on their journey now that she knows how powerful their true enemy is. If the players refuse this insane request, she'll escape and go after the villain herself, suddenly proving players with hints, and help from the shadows, until she gets a chance to take on the villain for herself, afterwhich... who knows what she'll do?

 
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Fivefold Mask of Lies

I wasn't initially excited about this one, I saw their art and thought they were a fae, for for some reason that just didn't appeal to me. But I actually ended up enjoying this little scamp.

Fivefold Mask of Lies is a they/them godblooded child of Khuruga, the Esteemed Minister of Social Unrest. A guy who is way too busy, irl and in creation. I really think the celestial bureaucracy should have just chosen to leave that office empty. But alas, I guess they're one of the only gods who have their office in order, because Khuruga is busy and off loads a lot of his work onto Mask. They travel around the world, but more recently The Blessed Isle provoking crowds into riot and convincing people that vaccinations have microchips in them. What a dick.

They have a mask which Khuruga gives to all of his children, which lets them disguise themselves as people which appear with complete backstories and motivations, and allows people to read their cover's intimacies instead of the person behind them. Really cool, and a great way to avoid a situation I encountered just a few weeks ago. Also it introduces the fact that this isn't the only mask, and that Mask isn't the only child. There are a lot of these sociopaths running around with these things.

Mask is under instructions to keep their actions subtle and not let anyone know that a god is trying to destroy creation, yet they pick a few pet heroes who they like to taunt and give hints to. So fun. such a great part to the archetype that Mask fills. They stay one step ahead of the players, and if they ever fall behind, they leave a clue to point them in the right direction. Maybe they even send gifts, if the players are able to clean up their mess. Mask considers it all a game, and thinks of the players as their friends playing the game with them. 

There's just a lot of fun that can be had with that type of dynamic, and I'm here for it. Great job!

Rating: 7/10 Families ruined because of Qanon. Everyone loves a trickster character, and Fivefold Mask is no different. They gave them a personality, which in itself sets up conflict, and even provided a bigger villain which inheritly doesn't make them the biggest evil around. They just knew the archetype they were working with, and serviced it well.

Misc: Their character art clearly shows them with a saber, not a rapier... narf.

Plot Hooks
1. The players go into a political situation knowing that one of their old enemies Fivefold Mask of Lies is somehow involved. But they don't quite know what they're getting into, because it isn't just Mask this time, it's also four of their siblings involved as well. Maks was bragging about how fun the players were to play with, and their siblings want to play too. Each has taken on a disguise, and role within the area of play. They will each plot an outrageous political scheme for the players to be involved in, first sibling to be unmasked by the players loses. How will the players react when suddenly every major npcs they've been interacting with for the last month takes a mask off revealing themselves to be godblooded tricksters? It was all a lie? All of it? Even the goat?

2. Mask has the favor of their father, but what about their mother? This poor woman is ashamed at what her child as become, and if found by the players will help them put a stop to Mask once and for all. Their disguises will have no affect one her, because a mother always knows their child. 

3. The players have captured Mask and are about to make sure they can't cause any more trouble when they suddenly announce that they know the location of The Scarlet Empress. They claim that they can not reveal this location due to an order from their father, who's using the empress' dissaperance to grow his power. If his father were to rescend this order, perhaps by... being over thrown? Mask would happily share what they know with the players, if they're allowed to go free.

4. Even a character as vile as Mask can be made to serve their fellow man, if the players are clever enough. There's a plenty of societies within creation that are in desperate need of a revolution. Perhaps Mask can be redeemed by stiring the hearts of the opressed and downtrodden of the world into action and revolution. Maks could make a powerful agent for the players if they could just convince them to play their game by a few different rules...

5. Fivefold Mask is the quest giver. They're the person that gathers the players together and starts them on their mission to take down The Realm. They're good to the players the whole time. They give good advice, and always encourage them on their quest. They even rescue them a few times. They act as mentor and teacher to the players along the way teaching them about politics, and how to unite the people under their banner. Along the way player meet Khuraga, and hear of their child Fivefold Masks's machinations but he does not try to stop the players, after all who can cause more unrest than a group of NPCS? Then the players take the imperial palace, and unite the land. Yet only their mentor is able to enter into the Realm Defense Grid which they do... and turn it over to a circle of Infernals!!! The players are ejected from The Blessed Isles, their allies are burned to ash, and now they must begin again with the most dangerous weapon in Creation hanging over their head. They feel betrayed by their friend and ally, yet the lessons they taught the group were true, and they might just be the way to save Creation from the Infernal threat.
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I already mentioned that I had some success pairing Fivefold Mask and Lies with Mist the Eternal Revolutionary.

They have a similar impetus, it's just that Mist is presented as a more direct "slay the tyrant" type, a little too direct for a lot of games as he presents little more than a bump in the road for an Exalted opponent. However, his charm 'Prince's Doom’ can make rolls in support of the current ruler/establishment fail (or botch) inexplicably as though his mere presence makes it harder to re-establish any kind of order when Fivefold Mask starts a riot with Whispered Unrest.

Note, my version of Fivefold Mask is actually a fae-blooded working for Adeimantus as that better fitted the needs of my chronicle.
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Ah, that's probably where I got the idea that they were fae.

Maybe when I get caught up on Adverasaries I'll start talking about team ups, and stuff like that between baddies, because you've got some really good ideas.

It would be interesting if Mist had a way of tracking Mask around, and were following them around without Mask knowing. So the players chase Mist around thinking he's the cause of everything, but once they take them out the revolts keep on popping up. Which could lead to players needing to recruit Mist to show them who the real mastermind is. Could be a fun silence of the lambs set up.
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