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As mentioned in my Thistletop question thread, the group actually accepted Gogmurt's proposal to go after the "longshanks" and leave the goblins alone. They couldn't guarantee they wouldn't kill any goblins, but being evil, Gogmurt was OK with that, as long as they tried.
So they got across the bridge, listened at every door, and the ranger with +10 perception earned his keep. They heard the goblins in the throne room and goblin dogs in the courtyard, so intentionally avoided opening those doors, eventually finding the stairs down.
Downstairs, they heard Bruthazmus with his harem and avoided them, thinking it was just more goblins. They found Orik, knocked him down to -4 HP, took his stuff, and left him tied up, intending to grab him on their way out to take back to Sandpoint.
Then they hit the temple, and the yeth hounds woke the whole complex, before the PCs killed them. I decided that yeth hounds were smart enough to give up trying to bite the heavily armored tin cans after 3 rounds of not getting through the armor, and go after easier targets within a 5 foot step, especially when one of those other targets was the one doing the most damage to them (ranger with silver arrows), so the group had some healing to do after the fight.
I started doing the math on how long it'll take Bruthazmus to put on his armor, go look for Orik, grunt in disgust at Orik being stripped and left tied up, then make his way to the temple. During that same time, Lyrie will be going down to let Nualia know there's noise coming from the temple, and they (along with the third yeth hound) should also come to the temple to see what's going on. Unfortunately, I got around 14 or 15 rounds for both of them, starting from the first round of combat in the temple, when those 2 hounds howled. If the group has to fight Bruthazmus, Lyrie, Nualia, and the third yeth hound all at once, things could go badly. And I was considering having Warchief Ripnugget send the 6 sleeping goblins from the barracks downstairs to check things out, too.
I'm thinking maybe Lyrie and Nualia won't be in a rush, since they'll figure it's just the goblins upsetting the hounds, so that will give me an excuse to delay their entry. Maybe I'll intentionally decide in advance how many rounds of combat the group will have against Bruthazmus alone before the others arrive, like 3 or 4 rounds. That will give them a chance to soften him up, if not finish him off outright, before things get ugly.
The PCs heard Bruthazmus and the goblin wives through the door to their room and avoided him, then engaged Orik in his own bedroom, which is why Bruthazmus was never alerted until hearing the hounds.
I wasn't sure if the hounds were loud enough to alert Ripnugget. I was thinking the goblins would be on alert upstairs once they got Gogmurt's message, but not realize the party had gotten downstairs already, which is why I wasn't planning on having them investigate down there until they got word from Bruthazmus.
I disagree about Ripnugget coming downstairs, though, even if he does know the intruders are there. The room description for his throne room specifically says he'll stay there, even if the alarm has been raised, with his commandos hiding in the rafters and warchanter behind the throne, ready for a fight. But if he thinks the longshanks have already gotten to the temple, he might send the 6 goblins from the barracks down there, rather than posting them in the entry hall.
I think I agree with you that Bruthazmus would go get Orik (after he puts on his armor) when he hears the hounds, then head directly to the temple. Finding Orik unconscious and bound, he'd probably get angrier, but just leave Orik there. Lyrie would probably head downstairs to get Nualia. I may have to do the math on how many rounds this all takes to decide who arrives at the temple first, and by how much. The PCs will definitely have time to heal from their fight against the first two yeth hounds before anyone else arrives.
I know there's nothing in the rules to that effect, but IMO tying up a druid capable of Wild Shape doesn't work very well, as my PCs discovered. :)
Yeah, I already planned on having him not be there when they get back. He's also still got his Animal Messenger spell that he never cast, so I was going to have him raise the alarm with that, too. He doesn't trust them, so he wants to warn the chief. Which is ironic, since he has the word of a paladin and lawful cavalier, so these humans are actually trustworthy.
Actually, I have followup questions about Thistletop that don't relate to Gogmurt. The group snuck in rather effectively without raising the alarm, listened at doors before going anywhere, and managed to find the stairs down to the basement without running into any goblins or goblin dogs. The ranger made some good rolls on perception checks to hear the goblins in the chief's throne room and the goblin dogs in the courtyard, so they managed to avoid them.
I figure Gogmurt's warning will get to the goblin chief while they're downstairs, so getting out will be tougher than getting in was. They'll probably be able to negotiate with the goblins without a fight, though. Seeing these humans and elves walking out carrying Nualia and her crew dead or unconscious should be enough to scare the goblins into letting them leave without a fight.
Also, the group found and subdued Orik in the bedrooms. They knocked him down to -4 HP, stabilized him, took his stuff, and left him tied up, with the intention of carrying him out when they leave to face justice back in Sandpoint.
Then they found the temple of Lamashtu, and the yeth hounds howled at them, which is supposed to be pretty loud. So I'm wondering how many doors that howling can be heard through. I figure Bruthazmus is only two closed doors away (the temple doors were open), so he probably heard the hounds and will be on alert. There are four closed doors between the temple and Lyrie, so she may not have heard, but I can't decide - it may be loud enough that she did. The nearest goblins upstairs are the sleeping goblins in the barracks, through three closed doors and up the stairs, so they probably didn't hear. We finished for the night with the group taking care of healing in the Lamashtu temple after killing the hounds, so reacting to that will be the next step.
So as stealthy as the group thinks they were up to this point, pretty much everyone knows they're there now. I'm just debating how to handle it. The goblin preparations after the chief gets Gogmurt's warning are covered in the adventure, ie waking the sleeping goblins from the barracks and posting them in the entry hall, having the goblins in the towers and outside the walls alerted, and the preparations described in the chief's throne room.
As I said, I figure Bruthazmus probably heard, and he'd know that the howling came from the temple, so one question is whether he'd go to deal with it by himself or raise the guard. I'm thinking maybe he'd send at least one of the chief's wives upstairs to warn the goblins, but would he go to the temple, or go looking for Nualia to warn her before investigating the disturbance?
Also, are the yeth hounds loud enough that Lyrie would hear them through 4 closed doors? It's actually not that much distance, just a lot of closed doors. Perhaps she would hear and head downstairs to alert Nualia.
So much to my surprise, the group kinda accepted Gogmurt's "deal" of only targeting the longshanks and leaving the goblins alone. He described Nualia's crew to them, told them to go down into the island to find them. They left him tied up in the thistles to make sure he wouldn't betray them, but promised to come back and untie him on their way out.
I had him warn them about the bridge, but in vague enough terms that they didn't realize what the warning meant until after it was too late. They crossed one at a time due to paranoia of getting shot at from the watch towers, then one of them spotted the trap and realized the real reason he told them not to cross all at once.
So my group left off last time having killed everything south of the rope bridge at Thistletop except for Gogmurt the goblin druid, who they captured with 2 HP left. We decided to stop there and start our next session (tomorrow evening) with the interrogation of Gogmurt and go from there.
I know it says Gogmurt will tell them everything since he's that low on HP, and he wants the "longshanks" (Nualia and crew) gone, so he'll try to cut a deal with the PCs to get them to leave the goblins alone. But it also says he won't go with them.
Besides the specific information listed in the adventure, I'm wondering what other detail Gogmurt is likely to provide. Would he warn them about the trap on the rope bridge? Give them directions within the goblins' building for where to find Nualia's crew while avoiding Chief Ripnugget?
I guess some of this might depend on the approach the PCs take. I'm honestly not sure if they'll try diplomacy, or just go for intimidation. If intimidated, he definitely won't tell them about the bridge trap. But if they try to cut a deal to only deal with the "longshanks" and leave most of the goblins alone, would Gogmurt be more forthcoming?
So the ranger's player who was leaving town was fine with us keeping his character in the campaign after he's gone, so I didn't have him go out in a blaze of glory, or sidetrack things to have them face the Sandpoint Devil.
We've met twice since the last post. The first one was mostly just finishing the new player's character, leveling everyone up, then interrogating Tsuto before heading off to Thistletop. The second session, they got through the first part of Thistletop, capturing the druid and clearing all the goblins on the mainland. We'll start tomorrow night's session with interrogating the druid, then crossing the bridge and "storming the castle".
I think this is the slowest group ever. At this rate, it'll take at least 2 years to finish the adventure path. But we're having fun with it, which is what matters.
So we've had two more sessions that I didn't post about here. They captured Tsuto instead of killing him, so he's now in the Sandpoint jail. And they actually handled the Catacombs of Wrath faster than I expected. Apparently, once they're dungeon crawling, they're much faster than when they're trying to decide what to do around town.
After finding Tsuto's journal, they had already decided to stock up on silver and cold iron weapons because of the references in the note about a quasit and other things, so they had the weapons necessary for Erylium. At least, the archer had plenty of cold iron arrows, and the cavalier had a cold iron melee weapon that he couldn't use very much because Erylium was usually flying too high for melee range. That fight was still tough for them - it took 18 rounds of combat before they killed her, and even then, I'm not sure if I got one of the rules right. I decided that her fasthealing wouldn't heal wounds that overcame her DR (mostly the ranger's cold iron arrows). Otherwise, they never would have killed her.
We're having another change to the players in the campaign. The ranger player is leaving town, so tonight's session will be his last. We've recruited a new 4th player, who I haven't actually met yet. He's the boyfriend of the woman playing the sorceress. Apparently, he made a paladin character, and he'll be joining us for the first time tonight.
I already told them to level up to 3rd level before today's session and start the new PC at level 3, so they'll all be level 3 for Thistletop. Given that we'll probably spend the start of today's session finalizing everyone's details of leveling up, finalizing the new PC's details, and on rest/healing from last week's adventure, it'll probably take half the session before they even start out to Thistletop.
Something they don't realize yet is that the cavalier has 4 points of poison damage from the vargouille in the Catacombs that can't be healed magically without a tough caster check. Luckily, that was the fort save he missed, not the one against its kiss, which would have transformed him into a vargouille himself. And re-reading the description now, it's just magical healing that won't work on that, so two nights' rest should be enough to heal him back up.
The ranger player already said last week that he's actually hoping to get his PC killed before he leaves - go out in a blaze of glory or something like that. But I doubt that will happen if we stick to the main story, given the difficulty of what they're facing at the entrance to Thistletop. I don't expect them to get far enough to face the tough parts tonight. If he survives, I could keep his character around as an NPC, since they could use the extra firepower.
But I was also considering throwing in something outside the main storyline, just to have some fun with it. The ranger PC did come to Sandpoint specifically looking for the Sandpoint Devil - maybe I'll let him find it. That ought to be enough to kill him. :D I'd just have to be extra careful not to kill all of them if I do that, but I'm thinking it makes logical sense for the SD to target the guy hitting it with cold iron arrows, then take his body away to eat while mostly ignoring the rest of the group, if they're not in its way. Like I said, I'd have to be careful with this, but I think it could work. I'll probably ask the group what they want to do with the ranger's character (keep him around as an NPC or not), then throw in the extra optional encounter if they're ok with him dying.
So now I wonder... if Durkon is just trapped inside his vampire-possessed body instead of truly dead, and Durkula even admits that Durkon "struggles within me", then that means there is a possibility that Durkon could break out at some point. Even if it's just something small, like saying a few words to Roy and the others, it could happen.
In game terms, I figure he should get a new will save whenever his body is forced to do something that's completely against his nature. It might be a nearly impossible save, but all it takes is one natural 20.
Lord Fyre wrote:
Yeah, thanks for pointing out that back story that most of us forgot. :)
Ironically, my mind went to Roy's time in the afterlife, too, but for a completely different reason. Roy's comment to V that Lord Frye just quoted reminded me of the conclusion of Roy's own after life review:
"You're trying to be Lawful Good. People forget how crucial it is to keep trying, even if they screw it up now and then. They figure if they can't manage it perfectly every waking second, then they should just pick some other alignment because it'll be easier. But it's the struggle that matters. It's easy for a being of pure Law and Good to live up to these ideals, but you're a mortal. What matters is that when you blow it, you get back up on the horse and try again. You... well, your record is full of grey spots, but you never stop working at improving it. That's what's important."
Last week, they headed to the Glassworks, then spent a ton of time debating the legality of breaking in to check things out. The LN cavalier didn't want to violate any laws. In the end, they realized the mayor was still in town, even though the sheriff had headed to Magnimar to get reinforcements for the town guard, so they went to city hall and asked Mayor Deverin for permission to break into the Glassworks, which she granted.
They broke in, and because of the route they took, they were blocking the path for the goblins to run down to warn Tsuto. They killed 7 goblins in the glassmaking room, and chased the 8th out and killed him on the run. None of them speak goblin, so they didn't understand that he was yelling "I surrender! Don't hurt me!" as he was running away.
Because our group is incredibly slow, and spent like an hour debating how to handle breaking into the Glassworks, that was as far as we got. They found the stairs down to the basement, and I think they're assuming it's going to be a large section of adventure down there, when it's actually just the one fight with Tsuto. So we'll pick up with that tonight, and hopefully finish it fast enough to start in on the Catacombs of Wrath.
So my campaign is finally meeting weekly again after about a month break for the December/January holiday vacations that everyone took. We're finally making progress into the meat of the story with the Glassworks last week and (hopefully) Catacombs of Wrath this week.
I usually draw maps on the blank fold out grids that are made by Paizo, which are 24x36 squares. In running Pathfinder Society adventures, I noticed that almost every map in their adventures fits on these, which I'm assuming is intentionally planned, especially given how many of them just happen to be exactly 24x36.
But I noticed that in Runelords, the Glassworks and Catacombs maps are both just slightly too big to fit on these grids, I think both of them by only 2 squares each. Is this going to be a recurring problem for me through most of the campaign? Do I really need to go out and by a bigger blank grid to draw on from another company to accommodate a lot of the maps in this adventure path?
The black raven wrote:
Yup. He's currently dead, so as long as he sets foot on that land at some point along the way, prophecy fulfilled.
Yeah, they'll probably be ok, but as I said, they're not power gamers. One's a total newbie, but he's playing the archer, and I've given him advice on archery feats, so it's an easy character to play effectively in combat.
Monday's session was a bit weird. The sorceress couldn't make it, so I just said her PC was busy flirting with Aldern Foxglove and not hanging out with the others as they wandered town (which fits with her previous behavior). The ranger has decided that the fish water at the Hagfish is now a challenge that he wants to keep attempting, so it's reached recurring joke status.
They dealt with the goblin in the closet easily enough (though I had fun pulling out 8 goblin minis before the fight started, just to scare them). The oracle has an 18 charisma, so I had the shopkeeper's daughter flirt with him, which was pretty awkward, because the player's a pretty quiet guy. He decided his PC would probably go along with it, and he got caught in the basement by her father, then failed to talk his way out of it.
Then I had them find out Ameiko is missing and are given the note and family history by the old halfling woman who works for her. Cue cliffhanger, and we spent the rest of the session advancing the characters to level 2. I know they're not supposed to level up until after the Glassworks, but I figure they could use the boost. Besides, it seemed like the advancements at level 3 and 4 might come too quick, so this way, they're spread out a little more.
Not sure when we're meeting next. The group's kind of in flux a little, with one member leaving and another having a new job schedule. We may switch days of the week. Hopefully, we'll be able to go back to weekly meetings like we had before the holidays.
We're meeting again tonight, so I thought I'd get back to this thread.
We actually had one more session in December that I didn't report here. We got through a lot of the Local Heroes stuff, but not all of it. Selkirk tried to drink the water at the Hagfish, but didn't roll well enough on his saving throws. The attempt and his joking reaction afterward were enough to earn the respect of the locals, though. The boar hunt had some mildly interesting conversation with Aldern Foxglove, including more flirting with Kalaysa and kissing up for cash by Selkirk, but the combat was quick and easy. They met Ameiko's drunken father at the Rusty Dragon while she was roasting their boar for them. And we finished with the report on goblin activity from Shalelu, with the PCs accepting the mayor and sheriff's offer to stay in town and keep an eye on things while Sheriff Hemlock travels to Magnimar to ask for more troops to protect the town from goblin.
Unfortunately, because of people traveling around the holidays, we haven't met in 3 or 4 weeks now. And one member of our playing group permanently left town last week, so I'm going to have tonight's session pick up where we left off in the mayor's office, with the bard deciding to continue his travels and decline the offer to stay in Sandpoint.
I wish I'd known in advance that I wouldn't get a chance to see him before he left, so I could ask the player for his character sheet and keep him on as an NPC. These aren't exactly power gamers, so I'm a little worried about continuing with only 4 PCs. I'll probably tone things down a little in some of the future combats, since I know they aren't the types who want an extreme challenge. Or possibly add an NPC to accompany them. I was thinking maybe Shalelu could join their travels, but she'd be redundant in a group that already has an archery focused ranger, and she's too high level for them right now.
Anyway, the only stuff left in Local Heroes is for them to meet the shopkeeper's daughter, deal with the goblin in the closet, and then find out Ameiko is missing, which leads to the Glassworks. I think I'll have them advance their PCs to level 2 before they go to the Glassworks next session. That seems like it might be a short session, but this group tends to be pretty slow, and we'll probably want to advance the PCs to level 2 as a group, since some of them are still new to the game and/or this version of it (vs earlier versions of D&D).
Ahh, good catch.
Even before Blackwing said it, I noticed that one of the ioun stones was missing, and wondered if it was just the art or part of the plot. I guess he (she? Do we know Blackwing's gender?) is giving Haley a run for her money as leading sleight of hand artist in the Order.
Also, now we know why V wanted to keep the group running and force Laurin to keep teleporting to chase them. It was to make her use as much energy as possible on harmless stuff so she wouldn't have enough to nova later.
Figured I'd start a new post to talk about the sessions so far, to keep things from turning into walls of text.
SPOILERS AHEAD (applies to the entire rest of the thread)
Our group has been pretty slow, partially due to timing issues in playing, partially due to newbies getting used to the game, and partially due to joking around a lot while playing. We can only play one night per week, for roughly 3 - 3.5 hours, because it's a week night, and most of us have to work the next day. So far, we've had 2.5 actual playing sessions (after 1.5 character creation sessions).
Our first playing session, we spent the first half finishing up character creation, then got into the Swallowtail Festival. The group really wasn't interested in RPing much of it, so it was uneventful. Selkirk and Kalaysa earned sloth points for sleeping in and not joining the festivities until later.
Second session - Goblin attack! Because of some socializing before we started, one total newbie learning how combat works, and the others getting used to this version of the game and their new PCs, we actually only got through the first two goblin fights, and didn't even get to the third one. But they all enjoyed killing the goblins. They were suspicious of Father Zantus, because the goblins attacked on his signal, until the priest healed them during combat, which laid their suspicions to rest.
Third session, last night. Finished the goblin raid. Much to my surprise, the group embraced Aldern Foxglove much more readily than I expected. They even made a point of escorting him back to the Rusty Dragon to make sure he got back safely after the goblin attack. Selkirk gets a greed point for only wanting to kiss up to the nobleman in the hopes of a reward. Kalaysa earns a lust point for trying to seduce Aldern. Those who know the adventure know where that one's going. Aldern didn't sleep with her, but was very complimentary to her, making her think he's interested but taking it slower than she is. They all accepted both the invitation to stay at the Rusty Dragon for free, and the invitation to go boar hunting with Aldern, which surprised me. I half expected Kvothe to want to go visit Brodert Quink for historical research right away, instead of going on the boar hunt.
The next morning, Sheriff Hemlock asked them to check out the graveyard, where they knocked out the skeletons much quicker than they'd dealt with the goblins. They all got suspicious of the Sheriff for not helping, and for even asking for their help investigating to begin with. I had him explain that he was feeling them out to see if they were as useful and kind as he'd heard from those who'd seen them fighting the goblins. With good sense motive rolls, they believed him... barely.
The problem came after that, when they wanted to keep the investigation going, but they ran out of clues. I was going to do the boar hunt next, but it was running late. I think I want to have Shalelu come to town almost immediately, just to give them a motivation to stay in town. Otherwise, they might try and follow the goblin tracks outside of town to hunt down random goblins, hoping to find clues about the attack and the theft of Father Tobyn's remains.
This is my first time GMing a long campaign since back in high school, having taken a 20+ year hiatus from playing RPGs since then, and playing/GMing mostly Pathfinder Society in the 2 years since returning to gaming.
Selkirk - Half elf ranger, archery focused, doesn't like humans or cities very much. Enjoys hunting. Came to Sandpoint because he heard rumors about the Sandpoint Devil and wants to hunt it down. Lives down to his 7 charisma, especially for a newbie player who has never played a table top RPG before.
Kalaysa - Elven sorceress (copper dragon bloodline). Granddaughter of a copper dragon and an elf. Her draconic grandfather was killed by a blue dragon, who also stole an heirloom belonging to her elven family. Her long term goal is to eventually find that dragon and get revenge, which is why she traveled to the area, because she thinks he may be in the mountains of Varisia. Worshiper of Calistria, with the lustful personality to go with it, even though she could have just stuck with the revenge theme, given her back story.
Beramy Rollswagon - Human cavalier, Order of the Lion, loyal to the Mayor of Magnimar. Sees himself as a protector for all of Magnimar and its surrounding areas, including Sandpoint. Grandson of the patriarch of the Deverin family, which makes him a cousin to Sandpoint Mayor Kendra Deverin - his mother's maiden name was Deverin. Accompanied by Wilfred the warhorse. Traveled to Sandpoint from Magnimar at this time specifically to celebrate his cousin's town's big day (the Swallowtail Festival and church dedication).
Relyn - Human flame oracle, worshiper of Sarenrae. Came to Sandpoint for the dedication of the new church, and to talk religion with the local clergy.
Kvothe - Human bard. Comes from a performing family that was killed 5 years ago, when he was 10 years old. The Sihedron symbol was carved into one of their bodies. He has become a student of history trying to determine what it means and why they were killed. Fluent in Thassilonian. Came to Sandpoint to study The Old Light and meet Brodert Quink.
To back it up 10 pages: "OK, now I know we're doomed. Belkar is acting like a ranger."
Also, Durkon as a bat was awesome, though I have to wonder why the staff didn't convert with the rest of his equipment.
Lord Fyre wrote:
Yeah, that would be awesome. With Julio coming in to back up the Order, I can see Tarquin wanting to bring in an old ally, too, so having Laurin gate in reinforcements, including Sabine.
I... completely forgot about that. Here it is again, for everyone else who needs their memory refreshed. Be sure to keep reading into the beginning of the next strip.
The psionic blast was clearly a stunning affect. Elan and Vaarsuvius are both still unwounded, not to mention the raven. V, Belkar, and Roy are shown taking various amounts of time to recover. I'm assuming random duration per person, in rounds, and Elan just recovered faster than Roy. Or maybe proximity to the psion plays a roll, since Roy was closest to her when she blasted them, and he's stunned the longest.
The irony of Roy's namesake sword being shoved through him (and Elan) isn't lost on me.
So we talked about it in last night's session, and she liked the copper dragon idea. I told her that her grandfather was a copper dragon, who had been married to her elven grandmother for over 100 years before a blue dragon came and killed them both. Her mother saw the whole thing from where she was hiding, and saw that the copper had wounded the blue dragon badly, cutting off two fingers (toes?) from his front left claw. Also, a jade comb that had been an elven family heirloom caught the blue's eye as he left, so he took it from the body of the elven grandmother. So when they eventually meet Ghlorofaex, I'll embellish his look a little to say he's missing two fingers on one of his claws, and she'll know this is the dragon she's searching for revenge against.
The bigger issue is that the player who wasn't there for our character building session last week has a very specific backstory idea in mind that he really wants to go with, so now I need to come up with a way to accommodate that. He's basing it on a character from a series of novels, and trying really hard to make every single detail from the novel fit perfectly. His novel character came from a family of wandering performers. Apparently, the family was researching some sort of ancient evil to do a performance about it, and they were killed for knowing too much, with his character being the only survivor. He was a child at the time, and came home just in time to see the bad guys leaving and get a hint of what had killed his family.
I told him his character didn't see the killers when he got home to find his family dead, but he found the 7 point sihedron star symbol. I haven't read far enough to know exactly how I'll tie in his family's murder 5 years ago. I know there's something about the skinsaw men using that symbol and killing people, but I haven't read enough to know the details yet, or know if they were active 5 years ago. I figured the timing of his story with the character's family murdered 5-7 years before he became a real adventurer at 15 would fit with the activation of the runewells and awakening of Karzoug, so I'd just find a way to make it work once I've read more and know all the details of the campaign's story.
The bigger problem is that after spending half the session finalizing characters last night, we started playing, and the group's having a hard time focusing. They had no interest whatsoever in the Swallowtail Festival, or RPing any of the games, other than the cavalier wanting to test his strength when I mentioned a weight lifting contest. Some of them at least played along with the environment - the cavalier made a point of introducing himself to the sheriff and offering his services if any trouble came up, and the oracle with an interest in religion introduced himself to Father Zantus. I think the cavalier's heading for a pride sin point, while the ranger and sorceress who decided to sleep in and skip the opening of the festival already earned a sloth point each.
But the new guy who'd never done a table top RPG before was just being silly, in ways that led me to use my "You can do that, BUT..." GM voice. He wanted his ranger to shoot at the butterflies with flaming arrows when they were released, and had to be talked down. I'll see how next session goes - I'm hoping once he gets into some combat in the game, he'll calm down during non-combat play. I may have to have a talk with him about RPing, and about how his character is supposed to be a resident of a game world and should be trying to fit in a little with society, and not just a video game toon who goes around shooting everything. I'm afraid he'll use his character's "I love nature and hate human society" back story that I helped him come up with as an excuse to be disruptively anti-social (half-elf ranger with humans as a favored enemy, due to bullying as a kid growing up in a human city).
The other problem was the bard with the back story from a novel trying too hard to force his PC's story to be the main storyline, instead of going with the flow. His character came to Sandpoint to study The Old Light and learn about ancient Thassilon from the local historian, and he didn't care if the rest of the town was busy with a festival that day. He met Brodert Quint and got annoyed that the old man wouldn't drop everything to show him his research. Not that Quint is shy about talking about this stuff, but he invited the bard to come by his house tomorrow to see the research, and enjoy the festival for now. I actually had to use the line "These ruins have been there for thousands of years. They're not going anywhere."
Unfortunately, we started late enough and spent half the session on character building, along with some silliness once we really started playing, so we didn't even get as far as the goblin attacks. I'm hoping once we get into the action, they'll settle down and play along with the story a little more.
I wasn't thinking of hiding from her that her grandfather (or maybe great grandfather) was a copper dragon. I was actually thinking the good dragon and the elf could have been married, and had a loving, stable relationship, for 100+ years before his death. I just have to work out the details.
The big question is how much to tell her about her grandfather's death. She'd probably know he was killed by another dragon, but how much detail should I give her. Should she know it was a blue dragon that killed him? Should I give her Ghlorofaex's name? And if she doesn't know it's him, then how do I handle the big reveal when they meet?
It depends on the exact story of the grandfather's death, more than anything. If Ghlorofaex attacked at the elven/dragon family's home, then witnesses might have seen it and passed on the story. If he just left home one day, and got in a fight that killed him while he was away, then nobody will know the details other than Ghlorofaex.
I think I'm leaning towards an attack at their home, with a hidden witness (the parent of my player's sorceress?) seeing the whole thing. Hmm... maybe Ghlorofaex has a distinguishing mark that makes him stand out from other blue dragons (ie the one armed man, the 6 fingered man, etc), so the sorceress will know him when she sees him, even without knowing his name.
I really wish I had more time to read the adventure before starting. I've only gotten through half of Burnt Offerings, plus the appendices covering Sandpoint and Magnimar, and our first session is tonight. We'll spend the first part of the session finalizing character details, then playing out the Swallowtail Festival, so we may not even get to the goblin combat tonight. If we do, that'll definitely be as far as we get. Any last minute advice?
I should have time to at least finish reading Burnt Offerings and move into the next chapter by next week's session. But if I have to spend a lot of time on drawing maps and other prep work along the way, it will slow the reading ahead. I really wish I'd known more than a couple of weeks before starting that I would be running this, so I could have had time to read the whole thing in advance.
So I looked up Ghlorofaex in the adventure.
He's a very old blue dragon, which puts him at 601-800 years old. Given elven lifespans, he could easily have met the sorceress's grandmother 700 years ago, when he was a young adult.
Very greedy, like most evil dragons. Has a horde with a couple of unique jewelry pieces that could be my sorceress's family heirloom. I really like the irony of picking one of the cheapest pieces in his collection and making it her heirloom, like the silver bracelet worth 25 gp or something. I might go with the jade comb worth 300 gp instead, just because it sounds more distinctive.
The trick is fitting him into her back story. If he just attacked her family at some point, and magical scarring caused the taint in her bloodline, then it's easy. But like I said, the player prefers an interbreeding angle. I just have to figure out why a blue dragon with this kind of personality would do such a thing.
Or perhaps the interbreeding took place with a good dragon, which was then killed by Ghlorofaex. Hmm... copper dragon and black dragon are both the same bloodline powers, so it's mechanically the same. It would match her PC's alignment (CG), and have a natural environment of hills, which could place it at the edge of the mountains in Varisia, perhaps near the Meilani Forest. I can work with this - I think this will work.
I know the town square is available as a published map to buy, but I decided not to buy it, more because I don't trust Paizo to get it here in time than because of the price. Given the problems they've been having fulfilling subscriptions the last few weeks, I don't trust them to ship me anything else until I know that mess is cleared up. But that map is shown in the book, so I can just draw it on a blank grid map based on what I see there.
But the one I'm talking about is for the third fight against the goblins, that takes place at the north gate. Without a map in the book to work with, I pretty much have to just guess what it's supposed to look like, which is why I'm looking for help.
While we're on the subject, are there other published maps that go with later parts of this adventure path? I'm still reading Burnt Offerings, so it'll take at least a week before I read far enough to find out what other maps I need. Given the lead time in mail ordering them, any info I could find out in advance would be helpful, so I can order stuff now to use in 3+ weeks.
She'd be willing to change dragon colors, though she thinks fire is too common, so she wants to avoid red. So I could give her a back story based on one of the named dragons in this.
But she really likes the idea of some sort of breeding with a dragon having happened at some point, so I'm trying to work out a story based on that. Maybe one of them used magic to appear as an elf, seduce the sorcerer's grandmother, and then took off after one night, taking a family heirloom with him.
Thanks for that. I noticed some of the links were broken, including map links.
Does anyone have a map for the Die Dog Die encounter at the north gate? I'm trying to draw my maps today for use when we start tomorrow, and I'm hoping to get through the whole goblin raid in the first session. We may still be finishing character building/back stories for the first hour or two, and I don't know how much they'll get into RPing the Swallowtail Festival before the goblins arrive, so we may not even get that far in the first session, but we'll see.
As mentioned above, Cure is already restricted to "at the same location". So are Lem and Valeros's powers to aid others. Hopefully, you're only using those powers to help people at your location.
But I do agree that the game is fairly easy. One suggestion I've heard to make it harder, which I haven't gotten around to trying yet, is to add an additional location. With 5 players, that would mean 8 locations instead of 7. It doesn't really increase the chance of death, but you do have to explore faster to win before running out the blessings deck.
Another possible suggestions to make it tougher is just go with a smaller blessings deck. But I think I prefer the extra location idea.
I feel dumb. I'm so used to Pathfinder Society, where you can't change details of the published adventures, that it only just occurred to me that I can just change the color of a dragon in the adventure to match the character's back story.
The exact dragon colors aren't essential to the story, are they? In many adventures, changing it to a black dragon should work just as well as any other color of evil dragon, unless there's an environmental reason why a particular type is best suited (red dragon in a fiery area, white dragon some place cold).
I'm thinking of suggesting to the player that her character picked up the draconic bloodline from magical damage that her mother sustained during a dragon attack while pregnant with her. Her motivation might be a combination of revenge for that attack, and to recover a family heirloom that was stolen by the dragon. I'm thinking I can check the dragon stats and find a piece of jewelry or something in its horde that could be her heirloom.
Furious Kender wrote:
Yeah, but the Pathfinders aren't stealing it back from people who involved in that theft. We're stealing it back from their buyers, who may have believed they were engaging in legitimate commerce in buying these things. We don't know enough about our targets to know if they're good or bad people. We just know we're supposed to steal something from them that they bought, and might not know was stolen.
I don't remember all the details, so maybe there's more to it than that, but my recollection is that the main mission was "Go be muggers", and I was really glad I wasn't playing a lawful or good character that session.
I think she was going with black dragon bloodline, for the acid, but I'll have to double check with her. Even if I am remembering correctly, she's still finalizing character details, so she may have changed her mind. Or I may be able to talk her into something different.
What color dragon is Arkrhyst?
Actually, I should have checked the players guides before anything else. The anniversary edition players guide talks about dragons in the Kodar Mountains and a green dragon in the elven Mierani Forest. Given that the draconic sorceress happens to be an elf, that seems like an obvious tie in if she would consider going green dragon bloodline, but I don't know how to relate that to the story of the AP.
It's not the word count that's the problem with Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch. It's the plot.
The mission is literally "Go be muggers". Any lawful aligned character who doesn't walk away and refuse to play the scenario after Grandmaster Torch tells them what he wants them to do gets an alignment infraction. I know the Society isn't exactly a squeaky clean organization under normal circumstances, but this one's just a whole lot more blatant about stealing from random people in the middle of a major city, with nothing to even pretend to justify it.
This is the one and only PFS scenario I've ever played that I would refuse to ever GM or put on a game day schedule in the future. I'm treating it as retired, even if Paizo isn't.
That's why I said Lini needs 3 or 4 Cure spells in her deck if you play her this way (instead of using blast spells, which is how I usually play her). Seelah can't heal her discards the way Lini can, because she only has one spell.
So the draconic sorceress has a back story idea having to do with trying to track down the dragon who tainted her bloodline. She left it kind of vague, as we haven't worked out details, so maybe it happened a couple of generations ago, and that dragon may be dead, but maybe she's trying to find out what happened to a family heirloom it took or something.
I'm trying to figure out how that would lead her to be in Sandpoint. Maybe she's just traveling a very long distance and happened to be passing through Sandpoint and decided to stick around an extra couple of days because she heard about the Swallowtail Festival. But then, if she's got her own personal quest, why would she stick around to play hero in Sandpoint for any length of time, even after the goblin attack?
Not having read very far into the AP yet, I'm not sure if there's anything even remotely dragon related in this one. I do want to read the whole anniversary edition before we get too far into it, but all I've read so far are the appendices on Sandpoint and Magnimar, and the first half of Burnt Offerings. I need some info on this right away, so we can figure out her back story before the first session on Monday.
I'm the GM for this group, so if anyone has any suggestions, don't worry about it being spoilers. But you may want to include spoiler tags, just for other people browsing the thread who might not want to know.
I probably should have included a smiley on that. I was kidding... mostly. :p