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I used a full grid map for the entire house. I drew the exterior walls of the house in advance, and filled in the interior as we went. That meant the awkward parts were drawn in advance, since most of the rooms are simple rectangles, other than some diagonal exterior walls.
This also meant that there was no metagaming about when combat would start, since they were on a grid the whole time.
And it made it easier to just have them show me who was entering a room and who was waiting outside each time, so I'd know who was in range for each haunt. For the couple of haunts that can affect everybody, or which do cause combat to break out (misogynistic haunt), this mattered.
Having recently run this, here's what I can recommend.
1. There's a thread around here somewhere (don't ask me which one) where someone did first person write ups of what happens when each haunt is triggered. ie "You see this". I printed these out and handed out little slips of paper to people as things happened, so that they'd know what was going on, but the rest of the group wouldn't, except when the affected person described it. Having the players reacting to each other without metagame knowledge added a fun extra dimension to the whole thing.
2. Survey your players in advance about their characters, so you know which haunt to assign to which PC. Even though we're doing the full campaign, there were a couple I wasn't sure of in advance, so asking things like "Is your character especially afraid of sickness?" was helpful.
3. Get them to each roll a d20 about 40 or 50 times in advance, and write down the results for you, all on the same sheet of paper. Get their initiative and perception bonuses on the same paper. This will save time on each haunt, as you'll be able to look at your paper and announce what happens, instead of slowing down the game for an init and perception check from each person on each haunt.
4. I don't like your idea of changing them to universal after they're first set off. On the other hand, I don't believe they reset for a day, so it probably won't matter unless they're in the house on more than one day.
5. For any unassigned haunts that you treat as universal, I'd recommend just having the first person in range set it off and be affected by it, as if it was their assigned type. Don't have everyone in range affected by it. These haunts are designed to only affect one party member, so keep it that way.
6. Remember that haunts are mind affecting fear affects. Some PCs might get bonuses for that, such as the standard halfling bonus on saves vs fear. Paladins are completely immune, starting at level 3. However, I'd still let the paladins experience the haunt, just not have any chance of being harmed by it. In other words, treat them like any other PC for experiencing the haunt, but assume that they always make the saving throw. That way, they can still participate in seeing visions from the haunt and getting the back story.
7. As for your original question, don't tone down the haunts. Scaring the players into being totally paranoid is the whole point! And just when they think they're safe because one PC entered the room and didn't find a haunt, the person assigned to that haunt type can go in and set it off! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! *evil GM laugh*
Bruno Breakbone wrote:
Liberty's Edge/Andoran's goal is to free the slaves. Always has been, always will be.
Don't ask me for more specifics.
It sounds like the OP's big problem was just that he wasn't aware of how secondary mission objectives work now, and thought the faction missions still counted for prestige. Most players already know that these days.
As a GM, I look at the faction missions and decide if I'll give them out for each scenario based on how entertaining and/or informative they are. There are some scenarios I won't run without them (Dalsine Affair - SOMEBODY needs to get that Qadiran mission, even if they're not in the right faction), while other scenarios, I skip them altogether. If they're generic, but not downright dumb, I'll print them and give the players the choice.
Something I came up with over the weekend ahead of tomorrow night's session: Xanesha's tactics say she opens up with an illusion of a demon flying around the top of the tower. I happen to have this mini for a vrock, so I think I'll use that and even let them ID it using knowledge: planes. I doubt if anyone will know this much, but if they happen to recognize it and know it's CR 9, that will seem reasonable to them as the boss fight for a level 7 group. So I'm guessing they'll be totally fooled by the illusion.
I'm definitely in the "accept almost any answer" camp. The point is to prevent "I use my masterwork tool" without any explanation. This is a game of creativity and imagination, so I'm going to force them to get creative.
And if they have a hard time coming up with something, I have no problem with the rest of the table (including myself) throwing out suggestions.
I can't think of any skill that can't have a masterwork tool, but I'd insist on the person who bought a generic one explaining to me what the tool is.
Tuning forks, maybe?
The key here is remembering that the skill is "Perform: Sing", not just "Sing". You're trying to improve the performance, not necessarily your singing voice, if the goal is to improve your day job roll.
I'm thinking a masterwork backup band to make your performances sound better might cost more than 50 gp, and require splitting the profit.
Costumes and other props could make your performance look better, so it'll be a better performance, even if the singing itself isn't improved.
Or paying someone 50 gp to write better songs for you to sing than the ones you already know.
Why not? Pay the extra 300 to get a pair of scissors made sturdy enough to use as a weapon (aka masterwork weapon cost), and then pay 2000 to enchant them as a +1 weapon.
I just checked, and not only doesn't it say that only traditional "weapons" can be enchanted, but the exception of shields being able to be enchanted as both a weapon and as an armor type shows that weapon enchantment can be done on things not primarily designed as weapons.
Brian D. Mooney wrote:
Bad timing. I can't make it this weekend. But I'll continue to keep an eye out for other upcoming weekend events.
So last night, they started raiding the clock tower.
Despite a good stealth roll by the Scarecrow, the ranger still spotted him with a high perception roll (they tied at 31). So they didn't get surprised by the golem. I rolled awful for his attacks the first couple of rounds, so I kept missing, but then I got two hits against the cavalier in the same round, scaring the heck out of them with over 50 points of damage at once. The cavalier then hit back with a crit and a regular hit while power attacking and otherwise buffed, doing over 60 damage in one round to knock him down (he'd already taken over 40 HP damage before that). So it was an easier fight than I'd have liked, but the massive damage in one round was enough to scare them and make them glad he went down before getting to attack again.
They started climbing the stairs, and broke them by bunching up too much on their way up. The oracle fell 20 feet. Nobody in the group has knowledge: engineering, but I gave them an intelligence check to realize that spreading out might be safer when climbing up the fragile stairs. So they spaced themselves out at 15 foot intervals the rest of the way, with the badger using her climb speed to follow on the wall instead of using the stairs at all.
I rolled randomly for the falling bell, and it just happened to smack the two squishiest party members (the sorceress and the ranger's badger companion). Luckily, they both made their reflex saves to avoid falling 60 feet, on top of the direct damage from getting hit by the bell. Either of them actually taking that fall damage almost certainly would have gone down to negatives.
They reached the bells and the fight with the faceless stalkers was relatively easy. That's where we stopped for the night, since it was getting late.
Per her tactics, Xanesha was invisible and watching the fight against the faceless stalkers. I should have made a mental note of that in advance, and made notes of party tactics in that fight and how she'd react to them, because now I'm trying to remember the next day, and my memory's a little fuzzy on some of the details.
Based on watching that fight, I think she'd consider the oracle and ranger the biggest threats, which is ironic, since the oracle is usually the least directly threatening in most fights. The oracle flew, used a successful Command spell to make one faceless stalker lose a turn and drop prone, pulled out his morningstar to hit one of the stalkers once, and healed the paladin after the fight (since he was the front liner that got damaged). The ranger hit with a lot of arrows and deadly aim, knocking one faceless stalker down in the first round before he'd had a chance to act. Xanesha also saw the paladin take some shots and get a hit or two in, but he rolled low for damage, so she wouldn't consider him a top priority target. She saw the sorceress use Magic Missile, but I don't remember what else. Being a squishy looking spellcaster, she'd probably be third target. Because the fight was in a tight space of the stairs, and the cavalier and badger are melee types, they didn't get close enough to help, other than the cav using Lion's Call to buff the others.
So in Xanesha's mind, the oracle is an effective spellcaster, and the healer who can keep the others in a fight, while the ranger is the heavy damage dealer, if allowed to fire lots of arrows, so they're the highest priority to kill first. After that, go for the sorceress, then the others. Since the ranger and paladin are NPCs now (they started as PCs before the players left the group), I would prefer to kill them before the others for reasons of metagaming and being a nice GM, but Xanesha's too smart not to use intelligent tactics.
Played this last night. Is it just me, or is this pretty brutal if someone falls through the grate and combines combat encounters?
We had 3 tables of this scenario at our store. The high tier table was still in combat when I left, so I don't know how that turned out, but knowing some of those players and their well built PCs, I'm assuming they're fine.
There was one table with 6 level 1 PCs, including at least 2 very experienced players and 1 complete newbie - not sure about the others. They TPKed.
At my table, we had 6 players at low tier, also, but 2 of us were level 2, while the rest were level 1. One was a summoner, so we had a level 1 eidolon as a 7th party member.
We went straight to the harbor once we got the name of the ship, but the harbor master couldn't find a record of the At Sea coming in, so we tried to ask around in the vicinity of the docks. That didn't go well, either, so we went back to Lady Darchana, but it felt like we were reporting to her too soon, since the situation wasn't resolved yet. But as it turned out, that's what we were supposed to do, and she filled us in on the ship's fake name.
Once we got to the ship and started combat, it was rough. Someone fell through the grate to set off the second combat below deck at the same time we were fighting the guys up top. The eidolon was "killed" (banished for the day), and 3 of the 6 of us were knocked unconscious, including my bard, who was the closest thing our group had to healer. Luckily, they managed to finish off the enemies top side and pour a potion of CLW down my throat. I pulled out my CLW wand and woke the other bleeding PC above deck, while the others were rushing down to help the unconscious, but stable, PC below deck. In the end, we won with no permanent deaths, but it was close.
I am curious to read this one and get some of the story details I may have missed in the noisy store, but that probably won't happen until I get a chance to GM it, which probably won't be any time soon. After running 3 full tables of this scenario last night, we won't run it again at that store for another 6 months, at least, and I don't think I'll be doing any conventions any time soon.
Also, besides freeing the slaves on the ship, my ex-slave character in Liberty's Edge insisted on buying and freeing the original handmaiden slave who had been the cause of the whole thing (I forget her name now). From the GMs reaction, I'm guessing it doesn't take that possibility into account in the scenario. Given the bad associations with that slave, he decided that the Lady would be willing to sell that slave, and he charged us 100 gp, which most of the PCs in the group were willing to split.
Reviving this thread with something from last night's session:
You know you're in trouble when you get to the table and ...
... an archer bard is the party's best tank AND the party's best healer.
Yeah. My bard was level 2 in a mostly level 1 group. Because of my +1 chain shirt and 18 dex, I tied for best armor class in the party, and my level 2 HP were also just about the best. I think the only other level 2 may have had me beat on HP, but I'm not sure, and there was a level 1 barbarian who came close to our HP while raging.
And I was the only one in the group who could use a wand of CLW, though we had a couple of them among us. I started to get worried when I hit -4 HP, and the fight wasn't going well for the rest of the group, either. By the time someone got to me with a CLW potion to get me back on my feet, two other party members were down in negatives, too. I played healer one round at a time with the wand while the next wave of enemies attacked, with no break to stop and heal in between.
Auke Teeninga wrote:
If that 3 year old post is still true, then it really needs to be in an FAQ and/or the Additional Resources. This isn't the first time I've seen elementals other than those in the original Bestiary in PFS sessions. I've never had any reason to think it wasn't allowed.
So what book(s) are you talking about that add additional possible summons?
Faerie Dragons are chaotic good, can cast Greater Invisibility on themselves 3 times per day, and use wands like a sorcerer, without UMD. Of course, if you want to hand it a Cure wand, you're back to UMD, but that's no worse than most other familiars.
In the snow!
Well, they get a constitution penalty, so be sure to pump that up in the initial build. I'm assuming you're using the Advanced Race Guide? They have an alternate racial trait that gives +4 stealth, so you'll definitely want that.
As for a ranged ninja, I can't really help you there. Sneak attacks are the main source of damage for rogues and ninjas, and they're notoriously tough to get at range. The most obvious routes are probably really high initiative (high dex, Improved Initiative, Reactionary trait) and Vanishing Trick, so you can routinely attack from invisibility. But other than that, I don't know what to recommend.
Yeah, playing against type is less painful now than it used to be.
Personally, I have four characters with LG alignment (of 16 total in PFS, plus one in the planning stages). Three of the four are Silver Crusade, but one is Liberty's Edge. If we occasionally still do the older faction missions, he'll occasionally be asked to assassinate someone without a trial, and if he's sure they're truly evil, he'll probably do it. He's LG, but not a paladin.
I also have a chaotic good character in the Silver Crusade, also playing against type. He's a gnome prankster bard, with a day job of Perform: Comedy (+18 at level 4). He heard that the Silver Crusade wants to make the world a better place, so he jumped in. Of course, his idea of making the world better has more to do with spreading laughter than smiting evil.
Sometimes it's fun to play against type.
I can't say I've ever had too much gold on any character. There's always something I still want to buy.
For most of my PCs, I intentionally save up my prestige until I have the 21 for body extraction and raise dead, other than spending the first two on a cure wand.
But I decided that I'd intentionally play one particular character more recklessly, and I've been spending his prestige after every adventure. At level 4, I'm having a hard time coming up with more stuff for him to spend it on. I've used it on wands of Cure Light, Infernal Healing, Protection from Evil, oil of Daylight, potion of Fly, scrolls of various situational spells that could be useful (Comprehend Languages, Air Bubble, etc). I finally decided to save up the 5 prestige for body retrieval, since that can't be paid for in cash, and he's up to the level where he could probably afford a Raise Dead if it came up (possibly relying on other party members to chip in a little).
The list for the Summon Monster spells just says Elemental (Size) at each level that allows summoning them. The caster chooses the type.
I just double checked, and the Additional Resources doesn't specifically say what's legal/illegal for summoning, so I'd assume that it's dictated by the spell description. The Bestiary entries in Additional Resources should probably make a note of that, as they do with druid wild shaping and other polymorphs.
Does the level 7 pregen really make up for the additional difficulty of losing the 4 player adjustment in subtier 10-11?
I'll agree that pregens at 10-11 or higher probably shouldn't be allowed. I don't have a problem with pregens in the appropriate subtiers.
I don't like the idea of removing the letter altogether. The hints about the overall plot help tie everything together.
I'm assuming that once they kill Xanesha and find the letter (assuming they do kill her - this isn't the most optimized group, so she could be too much for them), they'll think they have enough direct evidence to go to the Magnimar authorities and tell them about everything.
If the Lord-Mayor sees the note and says that he's just gotten word from Turtleback Ferry and Fort Raddick, and everything is normal, then maybe they won't have the sense of urgency to leave immediately. They'll probably still want to leave right after leveling up, selling their loot, and gearing up.
Maybe I'll edit the letter to take out the references to specific locations, so they don't know where to go to follow up on the letter, but still get lots of plot info. I could just take out the reference to Turtleback Ferry, and change "Fort Raddick" to "the fort" in the letter, so they'll be worried about a fort, but have no idea what fort. A month later, when the mayor receives word that Turtleback Ferry has lost contact with Fort Raddick, they'll jump on it.
I really haven't been keeping this thread up to date. We've done almost all of Skinsaw Murders since the last time I updated here.
They didn't kill Malfeshnekor. He kicked their butts, but they (just barely) all got out alive. They realized he was magically bound to that room, so they just closed the secret doors in the hopes the goblins would never find him, and decided they'd come back and deal with him later.
They spent a few weeks in Sandpoint training their horses for combat and training themselves (leveling up) before the sheriff asked for their help investigating the murders. They realized things were tied to Foxglove Manor after their visit to the Sanitorium (where they did NOT meet or fight the necromancer in the basement), and wanted to head there, but were interrupted by the talk of walking scarecrows. So they investigated that, killed a couple of ghouls, and continued on to Foxglove Manor.
They also guessed that the strange occurrences of the sorceress losing possessions, and the notes turning up addressed to her, were probably from Aldern. Also, the group oracle picked up ghoul fever from one of the ghouls they fought in the farmlands.
In the Manor, they thoroughly searched upstairs, setting off lots of haunts to get back stories, and the sorceress picked up Vorel's Phage from one of the haunts. Following Aldern's undead bride downstairs, the cavalier picked up ghoul fever from one of the ghouls in the sub-basement. They watched the two lead undead duke it out, then helped them finish each other off. They picked up on the hints that Vorel had been trying to become a lich, and that Aldern had contacts worth investigating in Magnimar, but consecrating the manor to make it safe from Vorel's haunts never crossed their minds.
So they used an Animal Messenger spell to send a note to Sheriff Hemlock, then headed directly to Magnimar without even returning to Sandpoint. Along the way, they realized that three party members were sick.
In Magnimar, they went to the cavalier's family home. He was born and raised there, from a minor noble family, so we all figured they'd have a big enough home for visitors to stay with them. They stocked up on anti-disease supplies (anti-plague, healer's kit), but didn't slow down the investigation at all. The paladin is just preparing Lesser Restoration as his only spells every day to mitigate the effects of the diseases, but they all still have them.
At Foxglove's townhouse, they killed the faceless stalkers, then found the secret compartment and book with the hint about the Seven's Sawmill. They asked around among Foxglove's neighbors, who didn't really know him, but told them about the series of murders in the city. They went to the city guard and told them about Aldern and Foxglove Manor. The city government didn't want the amateurs interfering with their investigation into the murders within the city, since it was obvious that they weren't all done by Aldern, but they did get confirmation of the victims have the Sihedron rune carved into them like Aldern's victims, so they knew they're related.
So they finally got the sawmill and staked it out for a bit, rather than going right in. I had one of the cultists walk in from outside during the stakeout, and the paladin detected that he was evil. I also had them see Ironbriar on the roof sending a raven north, but he was too far to detect evil on. Ironbriar's high perception paid off for him, and he noticed the paladin in full plate trying to be stealthy. He called all the cultists up from the basement, and the paladin got one more detect evil off on one of them while they were coming up the stairs and heading around the building.
Realizing the place was loaded with evil, they decided to just go in guns blazing. The cultists knew they were coming, so they fought their way through all of them, eventually facing Ironbriar on the top floor. The cavalier made good use of combat maneuvers to trip then grapple Ironbriar, so it really wasn't much of a fight, though the Reaper's Mask's two Confusion spells per day made for some fun moments, with the ranger, his badger companion, and the paladin all getting confused.
They weren't sure if they should go to the authorities, but it occurred to them that if they stayed at the sawmill, more cultists might come home. Also, they realized that the ranger could prepare a Speak With Animals spell after resting for the night, and ask the carrier ravens what they knew. So they actually spent the night at the sawmill, taking shifts on guard and sleeping.
In the morning, they used their anti-plague and healer's kit, and everyone passed their fort saves on their diseases. That's two days in a row for the sorceress with Vorel's phage, and the first day for the oracle and cavalier with ghoul fever, so they all have to make one more day's fort save to be totally cured. Then, the ranger talked to the ravens and they found out that the ravens like flying to the tallest tower under the Irespan.
And that's pretty much where we left off - they'll head to the clock tower next time.
So the start of Hook Mountain Massacre talks about the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar being contacted from Turtleback Ferry that they haven't heard from Fort Raddick, and he sends the PCs to investigate. This is supposed to be in winter, at least a month or two after the events of the earlier chapters.
But the PCs should find the note at the end of Skinsaw Murders hinting that bad stuff's going down in Turtleback Ferry and Fort Raddick. Why would they wait to go investigate?
What about if you had multiple boons of the style posted above from different scenarios you played. Could you apply them all to the same newly generated character?
Yes, as confirmed by Mike Brock years ago. That takes me back - those boons ended up being my nagaji battle oracle, who has since gone from Lantern Lodge to Andoran to Liberty's Edge, and he's still only level 5. LOL
Sparky Spain wrote:
PFS management has made it clear that only PCs played or designated on a GM credit to be aasimar or tiefling before the cutoff are grandfathered in. You can't rebuild another PC into one of those races if it wasn't already a member of those races before the deadline in mid-August.
Per the Guide to Organized Play, you can make a nagaji without a boon now. Additional Resources is always a little behind on getting updated, so treat the Guide as king.
Agreed. I've never had any bigger problems with an inexperienced player with a pregen than I would have with the same player using their own PC. And experienced players know how to choose and play the better pregens in a way that truly helps the party more than it hurts.
I don't know. Brock's example was in a town that was pretty much occupied behind enemy lines. Kaer Maga is basically like the Wild West when it comes to law and order.
Which is exactly why the "hired guards" of the local "boss" are appropriate for fitting that role. In this case, those guards happen to be golems.
Victor Zajic wrote:
In an organized play game like PFS, there are going to be some sacrifices that the players have to make in order to be able to play their characters at any official event under any GM. If this isn't something that works for you, you should probably avoid PFS, because restricted race options are just the tip of the iceberg. PFS isn't for everyone, a lot of people really don't enjoy loosing the freedom that you get in a dedicated home game.
While I mostly agree, your wording about restricted races being "just the tip of the iceberg" seems to imply that there are a lot of bigger things that aren't allowed elsewhere. I disagree.
Race restrictions are the biggest area where things aren't allowed in PFS. Other than that, there are a few class archetypes, feats, spells, items, etc that aren't allowed here and there, but things are mostly pretty open. Races are the only area where a large chunk of primary content is forbidden.
Well, you're lacking in divine casting.
Is the ranger going to be a front liner or an archer type? If he's not front lining, then the samurai could get lonely holding the front line by himself.
A front line divine type seems like the obvious choice, such as a paladin, cleric, or warpriest. If you don't need front line so much, then any divine caster would do well.
Or you could just be a bard. I always like bards. Every group can always use the extra buffing, and if the GM lets you get wands easily, then you can serve a semi-healing roll with wands of Cure Light.
I don't think Nualia or Orik were ever on Xanesha's radar. She wouldn't care about him. If Justice Ironbrar thinks Orik's particularly greedy, which he isn't, then he could be a candidate to be sacrificed by the Skinsaw Cult, but I just don't see it.
Lyrie, on the other hand, seems like someone Ironbrar might recruit. He probably wouldn't let her into the full cult right away, but I could see him using his position as a justice to get her out of jail if she agrees to work for him, then using her for some dirty work. She might even get some new spells out of the deal, if he shares the stolen wizard spellbook from his loot (see Ironbrar's chest in the Seven's Sawmill).
Kalshane's answer sounds good to me, based on my reading of the Core Rulebook.
The spellbook in the original question has these spells:
1 chill touch
That's 6 spells at level 1, 5 at level 2, and 4 at level 3. So the total sale value based on Kalshane's method, and factoring in the 7.5 gp for the spellbook itself, is 472.5. To make things easy in this adventure, since my group would just sell the spellbook, I might just say they find 500 gp in gems.
Agreed. Even if you're not going to trade it away because there's nothing you want, you can give it away at a local game day or something. Somebody will appreciate it.
So Justice Ironbrar has a wizard spellbook in his treasure. My party's only arcane caster is a sorceress, so nobody in the group can use it. I'm assuming someone else out there has done the math on how much they should be able to sell it for. Anyone want to save me the trouble and tell me what it's worth?
So now that faction missions are optional, and I might be GMing this on Monday (backup GM, not sure if we'll have enough players for a second table), I'm wondering what opinions are on these faction missions.
I still use the factions if I think they're interesting or fun, and avoid the bad ones like the plague. In this case, there's a couple of decent bits, but for the most part, I don't think I like these enough to retain them.