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Playing Pegasus Plateau - Spoilers!

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Having just finished running the Pegasus Plateau, I though I would publish some comments and notes.

If you are possible players *STOP READING NOW OR YOU WILL RUIN THE FUN*

First off, many grateful thanks.  I have a young bunch of players (8, 10 and 11), and a couple of mums.  And this was perfect for them, they all very much enjoyed it.  I haven’t used many published scenarios (mostly home written ones), but a scenario about bonding with Hippogriffs *had* to be run, as it couldn’t have been more appropriate to my group and their goals.

One of the players had already been obsessed with Pegasus Plateau, from first seeing it on the map.  So I used a device of dreams (based on rune rolls) for visions of the Hippogriffs foaling, for a scenario hook, many seasons/adventures ago. 

This led, in the upcoming seasons before the festival, to much research from the adventurers, finding out about the festival, Hippogriffs, and buying maps and information about Pegasus Plateau from knowledge temples, which was marginalia activity during the other adventures for the campaign for quite some time. 

So, when it came to the festival the players and their adventurers were very well prepared.

The scenario benefits from really deep reading and preparation from the GM.  The sandbox presented has really good descriptions of all the main characters, including the other contestants, but I found it useful to have planned through various story threads for what might happen. 

Involving the trickster Jornkalor was an obvious draw for players of my age group (Chipmunk Bing has already prominently featured in the campaign, much to my wife’s disapproval), so a scene with him (and his fake map) was entertaining.

What worked well, was I had some idea of the rivalries of the competitors, and who would be doing what, which emerged as a bit of a who-done-it scenario for the players, as they uncovered a few nefarious deeds, and tried to work out what was happening and who might be doing it.  For an older group I would have dwelt on this for far longer, but even working through it quickly it was very satisfying for everyone.  This does require a bit of preparation.  The hooks are all in the written scenario, but pulling it all together into a story line has to be done by the referee, but is very well worth it.

For each of the Wind Contests, instead of one dice roll, I played an extended competition.  One roll (with a difficulty penalty, probably -25%, might have been -50%), to do really well to get into the final group.  Then a semi final competition, and final competition, where they match straight skill rolls against the specific opponent as defined for the winners and runners up in the write up.  

Given the ambush at the end of the adventure, when it came to the climb, I elected not to run the route for the bandit ambush going up, as I though that would be too repetitive.

The climbing, Parley and noble duel with Sun Lord Jardarin, and engagement with the Wind children played out really well straight from the book.

The climb itself worked superbly.  The party were *supremely* well prepared, the players had planned it meticulously.  And the execution was supported by good rolls from their adventurers.  So they made it to the top as a group (yes even the duck) well before the NPC competitors. 

For the bonding, they’d done their research (even if some of that was from Buckbeak in Harry Potter), so they knew exactly what to do.

I had to elaborate a bit on the bonding from the written scenario, since it wasn’t clear to me how it would work.  Previously, the players all had worked out what Hippogriffs were like, their Runic associations, and traits, so I allowed them to concentrate on a rune/passion and on a successful roll they’d get some impression on which of the Hippogriffs shared those traits, and so they then focussed on bonding with that one.

However, I suppose they could just have waded in and tried bonding at random, until they found a match, which also would have worked.  For Characters with middling Runes/Passions (below the 75% thresholds for automatic success or failure), I'd have allowed opposed rune rolls.

I used the rolls for the NPCs as in the book to determine the order to the top of the plateau.  Which gave (all) the player characters first, who all successfully bonded, which left one Hippogriff for the NPCs.  That was great to roleplay out, as Nameed was next, and he tried to force the bond.  Of course the players intervened to stop him.

Then Joreen and Kana were next.  Though they’re down at this stage as allies, from their original write up they are enemies, (and also I’d played on their rivalries earlier, particularly during the contest of the South-Westerly wind, the wrestling competition).  So, I had them fight over the last Hippogriff, which turned ugly, and the players intervened to restore peace (and honour).

Lastly, I had ride rolls (at half horse skill for Hippogriffs) for the ride/fly down.  This nicely spread out the adventures for the final ambush by Hanar.  (I delayed arrival for failed rolls, as fall to certain death seemed harsh!)

There isn’t much in the write up about riding young hippogriffs, and how that should work in the rules.

I ruled player skill of half (normal) ride.

I’ve generated stats for the Hippogriffs, or allow players to roll for their own.

For the young hippogriffs ready to bond I’ve ruled that they’ve 8 less STR, 5 less SIZ and 25% less fly and scan than adults.  I’ll have them gain a point of STR/SIZ and 5% skills a season.  (I know nothing about how horses mature, so this might be madness, but I won’t lose sleep over it).

For riding, I assume a Hippogriff can carry (SIZ + ENC) of adventurer up to their STR.

Lastly, I used stat blocks from here for Hippogriffs, Windchildren and bandits.


Thanks again to the authors.  It was great fun.  Though I'm quite an experience referee, I'd have thought it a really good scenario for a beginner to run as long as they done preparation beforehand to work out possible story lines for how things might play out, for the players to engage with.


Edited by Stephen L
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Our group used Roll20 for the hippogriff bonding, and the GM included their names along with the pictures, mainly for his benefit.  The players used the names to guess as to their runes.  A bit "weird". but in retrospect I guess that was our version of somehow "sensing" them.  It helped a lot to match up PC with a compatible hippogriff..

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Great writeup. Yes, the sandbox at the beginning does take a fair bit of effort although not as much as Crimson Petals. Which is a fabulous adventure but I needed to writeup an A3 table summarising which NPCs knew (or would say) what. It is definitely worth it for both adventures.

In terms of the way up. both of my groups ended up with the map from the honest Hendriki trader which I ruled let them take a different path to avoid it. Good roleplaying early, particularly kindness to that poor trader? Congratulations, you earned one less fight! :)

Jardarin... I've run Pegasus Plateau twice, and both times the adventurers negotiated for single combat from a champion, with the others permitted to proceed regardless of the result. Both times, both times, the combats had a single dice roll. A critical from Jardarin, in one case requiring a Divine Intervention to save the adventurer. In both cases the champion accepted his loss with grace and dignity, and gave up the climb. In some cases one or two other adventurers offered to stay behind as well. Naturally, this is the display of honour Jardarin was seeking so all were sent on their way. 

In terms of the hippogriffs, I used the statblocks from the adventure but separately rolled the statblocks for their adult forms. I'm ruling that they'll grow to those by 2 points per Sacred Time in each characteristic, and skills will rise 5% per Sacred Time until the adult stats/skills are reached. The other rule I've enforced is that, like horses, they can't bear riders with heavy armour (3 points max) until their average STR/SIZ hits 26. So my heavily armoured infantry adventurers are currently grumbling about being naked in combat with only 3 points of armour.

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