A great read! I especially like the design - what did you use to make it look so professional?
I had to think about one thing while reading your "Setting the Tone"-part:
There are some TV Shows with a huge amount of Mood Whiplash, though I agree that this is not often the case. A Groundhog Day episode from Supernatural from one of the earlier seasons sprung to mind, where
Dean keeps dying every day, often in a hilarious manner and everything is pretty whacky - and after they escape the time loop the episode takes an extremly dark turn with Dean dying (for real this time) and Sam getting obsessed when he couldn't prevent it.
I do agree, however, that this would not work well at all in a RPG like Pathfinder since the mood is created by all of the players, not just the GM.
As a rule of thumb:
Your 2nd level group, for example, as a WBL of 1000 gp per character - a sword +1 for example costs around 2300 gp and would be alright (though the character might not get something cool for some time afterwards), while bracers of armor +4 cost 16,000 gp and might seriously affect the balance.
The ways of obtaining them can differ: They might find some in a monster's lair, they might take the magic sword of the bandit's leader, it might be a reward or they simply walk into a store and buy it - though the last option is obviously not the most exciting one.
My group came to the conclusion that something really bad was going on in V&G's factory and that they should enter with whatever means necessary. They spotted the Mongrelman through one of the windows, but because they barely saw anything they thought that the whole place was crawling with flesh golems, suggesting that they used all the corpses they stole for exactly that purpose.
The paladin spent the afternoon praying to his goddes for forgiveness - he saw no other way to get to the murderers in time before more evil things might be done. I liked the idea, he usually is VERY by the book.
At night they broke in, slaughtered the guard dog, killed all the mongrelmen in the stables (they stood no chance). Then the archaeologist and the ranger sneaked to the room of Grein, found him inside and decided to take him out with a Coup De Grace with non-lethal damage. So he rolled damage, Grein rolled Fortitude.
Of course, here everything went to hell - before the ranger finished her own Coup De Grace Grein let out a scream, Vorkstag was alarmed, they ran over and got hit in the face with a bomb, Vorkstag ran out and the battle in the factory ensued. The three guards were quickly dealt with, but otherwise it was an uneven fight - archaeologist and ranger blocked the door in Vorkstag's room because they didn't want him to get back in, the rest of the group couldn't really reach Vorkstag all that well. After a while (and some hits by the group) Vorkstag drank his invisibility extract and escaped with his Spider Climb potion. The Sorcerer hit him with burning hands on the way out, but too late - he expected him to use the latter to get out, not that he would use the wall to get behind him and rush out through the door.
My plan for Vorkstag is to heal up a little and then return via the second entrance to destroy all evidence hauled up in the basement, maybe attacking again when he sees the opportunity - my reasoning being that he just saw his whole operation crumble before his eyes and that he is beyond logic, just wanting to kill them all to get his books and then flee as fast as possible.
Thanks again for all the input!
Realistically speaking, everyone in combat talks at the same time.
Once again I get great ideas in this forum, once again they come too late...I should have thought about something like this far sooner. I really love the idea of bringing Vorkstag in sooner in disguises, and the judges were pretty faceless men in robes...I really need to fill my NPCs with more life!
I'll start with one very simple thing: I'm from Germany. Therefore, some aspects of American law may not be as obvious to me as it is to you, so this might cause some confusion further down the road, so please don't assume something as common knowledge. I watched my share of American TV, so I get the basics, but some finer elements might be different over here.
Also: If you already played Trial of the Beast, feel free to read the post. It (and by extension the rest of the thread) contains nothing about the rest of the AP.
I'm getting in a somewhat tight spot. My group is on Day 2 of the trial, and some things have been established:
So far, so good. The group found most of the evidence surrounding the three crime scenes and everything is heading for the first major problem of the group: Vorkstag & Grine.
The last option seems the best to me and the way to go, but I'm curious. How did you handle the illegaly obtained evidence? Did you just say "It's fine. They're PCs, breaking in somewhere is what they do!" or did you have another solution?
Greetings from Germany,
Funny you ask that, as I recently decided leaving one group of mine...and I have to say that it's really simple:
It heavily depends on the reasons of leaving.
Now, what about your other suggestions?
Okay, so my group encountered the Ghasts...
I ruled that you could go down there without too much of a problem, but I forgot about the difficult terrain - our ranger jumped in (because she does things like that), all Ghasts charged her and she pretty much got paralyzed on an instant. Even worse, when the paladin got down there two of them could make a Five-Foot-Step (because, again, I assumed that down there wouldn't be any rubble) and make a Full Attack...
So really, REALLY think about how you want to let this fight play out, people! It might just kill your party - paralyzed + Coup De Grace is a b~$*%.
Radostne Sloboda seems to long for me. What about just calling it "Radost"?
"Who dares to oppose Radost?!" seems to roll well, "Welcome to Radost, friend!" too. Though it might be too close to Rhodes - I'm not sure what the English pronounciation for Rhodes is, but in German it sounds pretty similar (Rhodos vs. Radost - the h does not change the pronounciation that much).
Okay, aside from the fact that someone really should step in and spoiler out some stuff about the Adventure Paths...
Can someone point me to the Blog Post mentioned here:
Came Back Wrong: Averted, in one of the blog posts James Jacobs mentions that Harsk has a policy against Reincarnation. Probably to avoid becoming an Inhuman Human.
It really interests me and yet I can't find the bloody thing. If nobody can help I guess I will have to ask the great dinosaur himself, but maybe someone has actually seen it and can search for it better than I can...
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Either you are trying to troll the judge or you are mixing up your webcomics - Rich Berlew seems to be the author of "Order of the Stick", whereas Thaco the Goblin is part of Thunt's "Goblins". ;)
On Topic: Awesome Judge. At first I thought "Man...even if she *is* into all of this stuff, she can't possibly know all of this!", but then I noticed the very obvious trick questions...and if she doesn't even notice THOSE, then yeah - then she shouldn't get anything from the geeky stuff.
Once they realized that bringing Dogan back would cost them nearly 6,000 gp they began preparations for a funeral.
"Sir, our valued friend died. What are our options?""Well, there are the options of a ground burial, fire burial or the resurrection."
"Resurrection? That sounds awesome!"
"It will cost 6000 gp."
"...are your coffins oak or pine?"
In this case...I would let my group suffer at least a little bit for such a dumb decision. That's like saying "You know what? I got this nice car, but I will sell it so I can buy an even better one somewhere in the future. Until then, I will just walk everywhere."
I suppose you could weaken the wraiths a little bit, or something alike.
HOW? Apart from the possiblity to cast Magic Weapon (which should be just a crutch, of course) there were numerous weapons they could find:Magic arrows (with or without ghost touch), the Lopper's Hand Axe, a magic heavy mace where the Lopper was fought, a magic dagger in the water at the Splatter Man's chamber and of course the keen longsword +1 (which in and of itself almost pushes one character well above WbL). Oh, and of course the magic dagger the crooked kin might've given them (although I swapped that around a bit and gave them potions - some of them magical, some of them just superstition. The dagger was found at the phase spider's nest.)
Really, if they haven't found A SINGLE ONE of those they need to pay more attention. They can't expect that everything they desire is lying on the table when they enter a chamber with loot.
Just how I fixed those common problems:
1. Trust points:
2. "Jerk Villagers":
3. "Too early into Harrowstone":
Of course, there was nothing stopping them from breaking the chains at the gate and just enter, but that wouldn't have made things easier for them with the townfolk and since they were all in all not trying to piss them off too much (after all, they had to stay there another 29 days...) it worked to keep them off.
(Gah, it's getting late. I'm starting to rant and keep on telling from my own group. I'm just proud of these guys.)
Trinite: Can you link the post you mean directly, please? You have to klick on the timestamp to the left of "Flag|List|Reply" and use that link instead of the normal URL on top.
Just throwing this in:
The trust mechanic is poorly thought out. It has been repeatedly stated that if you want to use them you really should double every reward - that's the only way (without granting "off the book" boni) they will ever reach the upper trust levels.
"Blocking" certain ways in Harrowstone seems pretty railroady to me - as a player, I would be seriously disappointed by Devil May Cry-esque "You can only pass if you killed everything in this room"-doors. You could, however, tell them OOC that it is quite possible in your campaign to face things you should better run away from and keep the monsters closer to their original point - maybe they don't hunt them all the way off the property, but just out of their room or off their floor. They become stronger later on, but have to stay near their "home" at first.
Also, you might be able to reinstate the trust through paladin and cleric. Something very open maybe - have them slay some walking undead while being seen by a couple of well-known people.
How is the relationship between Grimburrow and the cleric of Pharasma? In my group, while he was a Half-Orc, nobody in town wanted to cross Grimburrow, so they begrudgingly respected him. If the group manages to win over certain key people, they might get back on their feet pretty soon.
The tiefling and the orcs, though...yeah, they will have difficulties. They confirmed every prejudice the townfolk had against them: Needlessly brutal, life isn't worth a damn towards them. When they meet the children, maybe one of them could shout something about "Get away from them, my daddy told me that green one almost killed him! I saw the scar!"
Question: Have you talked to them about that? Maybe there is a slight difference in expectations ("Serious" role playing vs. social event with some role playing in it). Pointing out the occasions in combinations with breaks might also work. ("That's interesting and all, but could you please discuss this during the break?").
Draconic punishment might kill the joy of everybody, especially if you're the only one not liking the status quo. Personally, I sometimes notice myself not liking the constant chatting, yet contributing to it ("Everybody else does, why shouldn't I?"). If it's adressed beforehand something might change.
I'd be happy to discuss this in PM form, though I also suspect that we just have extremly different opinions on this.
You are wrong, though: What you said in this very post is something I strongly agree with. Taking responsibility for a problem is something very mature and something that has to be done - and the way I say it he does, by adressing it, asking for help and all in all admitting that this problem is something he can't solve by himself, at least not in a satisfying way.
Victor: I must disagree. "Horror Campaign" does not translate to "Always at the edge of TPK". Everybody likes his campaigns a little different - one group likes to experience the horror together through descriptions, dialogue and atmosphere and another likes to (metaphorically!) crawl through glass shards, always on the edge and scared of the grim death.
Being scared can take on many forms, and it's always possible to play Carrion Crown as something of a rollercoaster through whacky funny horror stuff. It might not be the best way to do it, but some groups like it so.
GM Elton wrote:
Please tell me you're at least a little bit sarcastic here, because frankly: This post contains some of the best AND some of the worst stuff I read in this thread.
I get a very strong vibe from this post, and it is "You have to change your ways to make your wife happy because you should be happy you have her."
In Scenario B the OP is - let's just say unpleasant. He's almost never home, and when he is, he wants to do as little as possible. He quite likes his wife.
Again - BOTH SCENARIOS ARE COMPLETLY MADE UP. I know nothing about the OP, this is just to make a point about how little we know.
Not trying to offend you - what you say about the powerful evening is some really great stuff, as well as your general reminder that gratitude is always nice - but the post seems just too far into the "Change!"-direction.
In my group I will not fudge the dice except when I feel the module being unreasonable - which is not so much fudging as more "adjusting on the fly", a DC for example.
What may help with the "Please don't let me die by chance"-thing are Hero Points from the APG: Basically, when you are about to die you can spend 2 Hero Points to not die.
Although I have to say: When you are down to 2 HP and decide to stay and fight and not heal yourself or alike, you ARE begging to get killed. For example, I'd feel bad for my group's paladin when he gets critted from 30 to -15 HP by a random mook - but not for the sorcerer when he decides to go into melee with the graveknight when he is down to 14 HP.
Well, adamantine raises the price by 3000 gp - if your party is somewhat under AWL, this won't throw off too much. Additionally, you don't really fight constructs with hardness THAT often, so "avoid most hardness" isn't that much of a deal.
EDIT: Okay, you have to fight some golems in TotB. There, the great axe might prove valuable - however, 2 of the golems have a DR of 5/adamantine (and really, while losing 5 points of damage always sucks, it's not really that much of an issue at that level anymore) and one has a DR of 10/adamantine (which most clever groups would avoid by using one of those weapon oils or just stay out of it's way, considering it's the Promethean).
when the forum was restructured this extended on the URLs, meaning that every link to a thread or post taken before restructuring is, well, dead.
Is there any way to "convert" the old links to the new format or is this something that is completly impossible (or not with a reasonable amount of work achievable)?
If a paladin decides to take a mount as his Divine Bond choice, where does the mount come from? Can (or must) he acquire a reqular steed and use it, or is it sent by his deity, manifested from the positive energy plane or something completly different?
And (okay, this might be more of a rules question) from how far away can the paladin summon his mount?
Is it just me or is the phase spider an easy TPK or a walk in the park, depending on the rules you're using?
So...my fight is over, but what am I missing?
I guess it was just one of those evenings for snarky and stupid comments...
Prior to the game, in a stationery shop (I think that's the correct word - I mean a store where you can buy pens and paper and stuff).
My friend later said that he was lucky not to be the one who was asked since he would've been unable to answer at all. He had to completly focus on retaining his laughter. (To be fair to the salesman - it was only minutes before closing time, so I guess he was just exhausted ;) )
Okay, comments from the game itself!
Our Pharasma cleric had a vision in his sleep. Later that day...
I really don't get the Crooked Kin. "Thanks for confirming our friend is dead! Here, have this dagger! If we sold it we could live an average life style for almost three years, but nah, you should totally have it."
(10 GP/month says the GMG - if they sell the dagger for half its worth that's (4000/12)/10 GP, that's enough for 33 Months!)
I think I will switch that around somewhat. They will give them a couple of magic potions - most of them are just superstitius stuff (though they themselves belive in it), but among them will be the Fox's Cunning potion they would find by defeating the phase spider - and the dagger will be where the potion was.
Well, I suppose it is. Every encounter has some kind of weakness, that's the nature of Pathfinder - if the group figures out his, good for them.
As I said - by the rules you can leave him in up to 100 ft. no problem, and if he goes deeper he might (!) get nonlethal (!!) damage once per minute (!!!) if he fails a FORT-check.
Thanks for the answers so far!
b): Yeah, I thought about that too - though when they reach Tamrivena they're not that far from Lepidstadt, which kinda kills the "Have time to train your animal"-thing. Otherwise, good idea.
c): I like the idea. I might do just that if they want to sell all this stuff.
d): Again, time is of the essence. Throwing random encounters at them is something I could easily do, but seems to easy to me.
e): Kendra's Dad did go walki (and brought the first character into negatives with a nice crit - this character now seems to make a habit out of almost-dying), but it feels cheap to say "Remember that graveyard where the zombies and skeletons came out of, the one the clerics of Pharasma vowed to protect while you were gone? Yeah...you need to clean up there."
Pan: Clover's Crossing, you say? Hm...I wanted to buy Rule of Fear anyway, so I'll have a look. Thanks!
once again: Spoilers are ahead. Do not read this if you do not want to get spoilered for HoH and quite possibly TotB.
The last gaming session ended with the group defeating the Splatter Man and all that is left do is bringing Vesorianna the badge and grabbing their reward; they are around 7-8 days into the 30 days they should help Kendra and are about 1200 XP short of level 4 (or they will be as soon as they finish the module).
The Problem is this: I don't really know how to fill the time until TotB. They should hit level 4 by then - something I could easily fix by some random encounters - but then there is no way the ranger would have ANY chance to teach his companion a trick or two, so I want him to get his companion before travelling.
The last method would be to just say "Screw it, you guys are level 4 now!", but I don't know - the only fights they had at level 3 so far was the one against the Splatter Man and the one against the Skull-Dwarf (I don't know his English name, you know who), and I don't want to overwhelm them with the level-ups, since they are all new to Pathfinder. Plus, the Skull-Dwarfs is a really lame fight.
TL;DR: HoH is done, I need a little filler between HoH and TotB to get them on level 4, instant-level ain't such a good idea
On the other hand...I just found the rules for going into the depths. Everything under 100 ft. seems to give nothing more than 1D6 nonlethal damage per minute. So it seems to be pretty relaxed in Pathfinder - if they decide to take this route I'll just describe that their ears hurt afterwards, nothing a little positive energy cannot handle.
(Side note: They were not so much intimidated by the water or the diving but by the discussion whether it's realistic for a human without any training to go down that far. I guess they'll take the route "Give the Paladin a rope, throw him in and pull him back up!" now...)
Last Warning! GO AWAY if you haven't played HoH yet!:
Sorry about the vague title, but I felt that if I wrote "The Treasure in the Nevermore" the title itself would've been a spoiler.
My group finally finished (well, almost finished - all of the five ghosts are gone, but they didn't return to Vesorianna yet because it was 5.30 AM at this point) the Haunting of Harrowstone, ending it on a high note after killing the Splatter Man with a lucky Attack of Opportunity with max damage (because of course it's max damage the one time where everything lower wouldn't kill him).
The problem arose after the battle when they tried to loot the room and revealed the magic items on the ground of the hole with Detect Magic: They had no idea how to reach it.
Swimming down 9m seemed out of the question to us; it just seems to deep for someone who isn't used to diving that deep. (If there is someone with diving experience on the boards, he is welcome to share his knowledge!)
Using the climbing rope was considered, but I ruled it out since "Sending the rope somewhere to grab stuff" is obviously not what it is intended for and would even be dangerous (I send the rope up a cliff and it just decides to grab a huge stone lying around? Not really optimal!)
The Unseen Servant can't swim.
Water Breathing and Telekinesis aren't available yet.
Mage Hand can't effect magic items.
And so on...they boiled it down to "We'll just start fishing for them" and "We'll use summon monster and send a octopus to grab it all".
So, here are my questions - what are their other options? How did your group solve it? The only other way of doing it seems to be Levitation, which should be available in town as a scroll - but Levitationx3 isn't the cheapes thing to do.
So! Any help? ;)
I'm GMing HoH at the moment without scaling the encounters up, and I give XP as if there were only four players.
A thing I found to be very helpful is to offer the possibility to rebuild the character after some sessions. It might spur some hiccups in the story ("Why can't the character go into rage from now on?"), but it can greatly reduce frustration.
I agree that Father Charlatan is a somewhat difficult encounter. I found different ways to run him, even though I only used the first:
1. Don't take the player aside, plain and simple. When he's knocked down, start with him waking up as described. After he did whatever he wanted to do, go with the rest of the party and describe what they see, the chains and all that. If they are decent roleplayers they will be able to seperate player knowledge from character knowledge - my group at least was able to do so. Also, I only gave him Will saves when they found parts of the story which were somewhat off (in my game, Father Charlatan knew very little of the village outside of Harrowstone, so when the player asked "Say, where is Father Grimburrow?" I allowed him a Will save).
2. The whole group is affected by Charlatan's spell and are in some kind of collective illusion. How exactly this turns out is your decision - when I discussed it with some friends, our scenario was like this:
My feedreader (Brief, a Firefox-AddOn) has trouble showing new posts.
Looking at the feed as a dynamic bookmark shows the new posts correctly, though - so I'm not sure whether this is a problem with Brief or with the feeds. Can someone confirm this odd behavior with another feedreader?