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I'm still not sure if they'll have a Sending and/or Teleport available, so anything's possible on how this could go. The party oracle doesn't have Sending as a known spell, but he could pick it up on this level up, just like the sorceress could grab Teleport.
We've actually got a relatively "normal" party composition - one arcane, one divine, an archer, and two front liners. It's just that the arcane and divine casters are both spontaneous (sorcerer and oracle), so they don't have as much flexibility in what spells to prepare as wizards and clerics.
I'm thinking if they do go the route of Sending to Sandpoint to warn them a week or more in advance, I'll have only a small percentage actually leave. Nobody's seen a giant or dragon anywhere near Sandpoint since long before Magnimar and Sandpoint were founded, so they're likely to be skeptical of the warning, even coming from the town's local heroes. Maybe they'll send to Magnimar for help (which will get caught up in corrupt politics and not arrive in time), and send out some scouts to provide advance warning if giants are seen in the area, but at least half the townsfolk will still be there for the attack.
captain yesterday wrote:
I always thought Teleport was just one of those spells you learned as soon as you could, like Fireball, Raise Dead, Fly and Cacophonous Call
For a wizard, it's worth getting in the spell book right away. But for a sorcerer that only gets one known 5th level spell at level 10? Is that really a spell you plan to cast a few times per day, every day of adventuring?
If your players know full well that an attack on Sandpoint is coming, you give them a level-up to prepare, and they still stubbornly refuse to take Teleport, nor aim for the closest city where they might be able to purchase one,
I thought about them maybe buying a teleport somewhere, but where? They're currently at Hook Mountain. Probably the closest place to buy a teleport is Magnimar, which is a week's travel by river boat and only one additional day by horseback to Sandpoint, anyway.
I'm hoping the sorceress just takes teleport as a known spell, as that would solve the whole problem. Though I just looked up the spell and did the math, and it'll take her 3 trips to carry the entire party, plus 2 return trips for herself. She can only take 3 medium sized passengers at a time, and the party consists of 4 other PCs, a medium companion animal, and a large mount that counts as 2 mediums for teleportation (plus 4 more generic horses that would probably just get left behind). Just for convenience, I might be a nice GM and let the badger ride the warhorse mount as cargo while teleporting instead of counting as another medium creature, which would let her transport them all in 2 trips instead of 3.
If they don't try to warn Sandpoint magically (they don't currently have the means, but Sending was another spell they were considering for the level up), then I'll probably give them 8-9 days to get there before the attack, which should get them there right in time if they hurry. That seems to be pretty much what the adventure assumes, anyway.
Got a weird situation to start this book. My group found the note at Hook Mountain about the attack on Sandpoint at the end of last session, and they've been emailing about how to handle it before next session.
One of the suggestions someone came up with is using magic (Sending) to contact Sandpoint and tell them to evacuate, long before the PCs can get there to repel the invasion. Since they don't currently have any teleportation options, it would be over a week of travel time after the message arrives and before the PCs get there.
So I'm debating how to handle that. Do I have the town actually evacuate, so there's nobody there when they fight the giants? Do I have the townsfolk refuse to evacuate from such a vague warning, since they don't actually know when the giant attack might arrive, and they don't want to completely put their lives on hold waiting to return? Do I have the giants attack while the townsfolk are still there, before the PCs arrive? If the attack does happen after the PCs get back there, that would mean they have plenty of time to send to Magnimar for reenforcements, too.
I'm hoping this ends up not happening, since I'm having them level up now, and the sorceress might take Teleport as a known spell this time. I know they've talked about how that could be a helpful spell to have around in the past, so I know it's on her list of possibilities.
But if they do have to travel back to Sandpoint the hard way, how should I handle it if they warn the town in advance of the coming giant attack?
Yeah, even when it fails, it's scary. When I ran it a few weeks ago, I got the party paladin down to 2 HP on the behead attempt, and my description of it trying to rip his head off had them all in a panic to kill the thing THAT ROUND before it could try that again. Of course, it was already heavily damaged by then, too, so they did manage to kill it and free the pally before he died, but that sense that it was a tough fight that they barely overcame before another party member was killed made it lots of fun.
I just checked, and the anniversary edition of the adventure path specifically says it's a will save, in Black Magga's stats on page 406. I'm not sure where else you may have seen her stats that didn't specify that - maybe the original version of the book didn't say it?
What poster map? Do you mean this, which isn't even available anymore in paper form from Paizo? I see it's available on Amazon for $20, but that's a lot of money for a half assed map that maybe kinda sorta helps with one battle.
I'm just about up to this same point. We're one session away from finishing Hook Mountain Massacre, so we'll be starting Fortress of the Stone Giants in probably 2-4 weeks, and I'm wondering how everyone handles the town-wide mapping. And I thought the Hook Mountain caverns were big and annoying to map!
It's obviously not possible to have a grid map of the entire town. What do you have? The places where combat are most likely to take place should probably have combat grid maps prepared in advance, but I need to figure out what spots are most likely for that, and how many such maps I should prepare.
And there's also the issue of the party throwing long range attacks at the dragon or giants, even if they're nowhere near them. Our sorceress can fly above town and specializes in fireballs converted to acid damage, and we've got a ranger with a composite bow and enough bonuses to actually consider firing from a couple of range increments away.
But as someone else asked earlier in the thread, and I didn't see an answer, how do you handle PC movement between sections of town? Figuring out the distances and tracking their movement times seems like it could be difficult. We've got two PCs who have methods of flight, one of which can be shared (fly spell can be cast on others), and a cavalier who will probably relish the opportunity to actually ride his warhorse into battle, so we'll probably be looking at 60 ft speeds all around once everyone is either mounted or flying. But they have no teleportation abilities, so no dimension dooring around town from this group.
Wait, I think I've got a better version:
Remember, Divination specifically says it can only be used to see up to a week in the future. This should be good enough to scare them with the idea of giant armies, while letting them know they can wait to head to Hook Mountain.
I probably should have posted sooner to respond to your concerns about the paladin. Just to clarify: that player has his own cavalier PC. The paladin player left, and we kept the paladin around as an NPC, but I gave him to the cavalier player to control, just so there would be less work for me as GM. So he's really playing the cavalier and just helping out the GM by controlling the paladin, too. But I still consider the paladin mostly an NPC, which is why I don't care as much about how exactly he's used.
It's just that at Skull's Crossing, the cavalier was dead (died in Fort Rannick, and they're waiting for a messanger to return with a scroll of Raise Dead), so that player only had the paladin to play at the time. I didn't want to take control of the paladin and have him resolve the situation selflessly, or tell the player that it's what a paladin would do to force him to do it, because I wanted the players to resolve the situation for themselves without the GM stepping in.
Anyway, they'll be heading to Hook Mountain tomorrow. Per emails among the group this week, the only thing they're considering asking in Divination right now is whether they can wait for the messanger to return with the Raise Dead scroll, so they can get the cavalier back before going there. They want to wait, as they figure they'll need the extra PC, but they're worried about the ogres making a move if they wait too long. Since the story is designed to move at the speed of plot, I figure they can wait and it won't hurt anything. I just have to come up with a rhyme to say that.
Here's what I came up with, but it's a little too straightforward:
I'm thinking of trying to come up with something that gives more vague hints about who the ogres take orders from, the giants raising their army, etc.
They avoided dealing with the devil.
They didn't actually ask all those questions listed above - those were just the things they were tossing around while trying to decide what to ask. They did ask the consequences of stepping into the circle, so they got the rhyme that led them to correctly guess it was negative level(s), which could be healed by a Restoration spell.
They discussed who should step into the circle, and the group didn't want the paladin doing it, because he already has a negative level right now, from Black Magga. You can only heal one of those per week, and he was the only party member who got two of them from fighting her, so only one has been healed so far.
Also, I try to be a little lenient about the guy playing the paladin not acting self sacrificing and heroic at all times. The player didn't actually choose that PC. Someone else made the paladin, then left the group after a couple of sessions, and we kept the character around to fill out the group, so he's now being played by someone who didn't really want to be a paladin. He's not blatantly violating any paladin codes or anything, but he's not overly gung-ho about sacrificing himself like Latrecis seems to think he should be.
Also, I intentionally played Avaxial a little more sane than described in the adventure, and had him hold out trying to negotiate, because the PCs were playing along, and it made for a fun moral dilemma to put them in. I think everyone enjoyed it.
As for relying on Divination too much instead of knowledge skills, shouldn't that be the benefit of taking the spell? If they're willing to spend the money (it's 25 gp per casting), time (10 minutes per casting), and spell slots (4th level spell), then shouldn't they get the benefits? And even though I was thinking some of my clues are too obvious, I've been amazed that the group still doesn't always understand them entirely.
In the end, the party oracle stepped into the circle, and rolled high on his Fort save, so he didn't even get the negative level. So Avaxial is ash, and Turtleback Ferry is saved.
And even though they already knew about Hook Mountain, they decided to investigate the fey connection to Fort Rannick's leader first. They're waiting for a messenger to return with a scroll of Raise Dead for the currently deceased party cavalier before heading to the Hook, because they figure it'll be tough, and they want the extra front liner. So that'll be next session.
Here's what I've got so far, though I think these answers might be too straightforward, and I don't like the rhymes as much.
Given that my group is playing tomorrow, I need to get back to work on coming up with new Divination answers.
So they asked a different question than I was expecting last time - they suspected Skull's Crossing's dam wasn't working, so they asked specifically about what they'd need to fix it, which is incredibly smart, but I wasn't prepared for it. I made something up about life being drained in the magic circle to power the dam, which was informative, yet cryptic enough to scare them.
Ironically, they took some of the ogres at Skull's Crossing alive, and they found out through interrogation that they came from Hook Mountain, so they got a clue leading them there without needing Divination. They also know that a giant named Barl Breakbones took over the Kreeg clan and sent the ogres to break the dam, but the ogres they interrogated didn't know why. I figured generic ogres at exactly 0 HP after seeing their leader killed before he got to act in the first round of combat would be talkative to save their own skin.
They then cleared out everything at Skull's Crossing except the pit fiend. Despite the info from the earlier Divination, they're afraid to just have someone step into the circle and power the dam, because they're afraid of being trapped in the circle and/or drained of their life. The pit fiend told them he'd give them all the info they need if they free him. Once the party paladin proved he was a paladin (by laying on hands in front of the devil), the devil said he'd give them the info first, as long as the paladin promised to free him unharmed. The party started considering making a written contract, since it's a devil and all that.
That's where we left off. They've been emailing back and forth about possible Divination questions since then. In game, that amounts to stepping out of the room with the devil and discussing it as a group for a few minutes. :)
I've already decided that I'll strongly hint that they don't need the devil's help. I even looked in Gods and Magic to see how Iomedae expresses her displeasure with her followers (flickering/dimming the lights), and I intend to use that when they start talking about cutting a deal with the devil, even before any Divination castings. The paladin and oracle both have high enough Knowledge (Religion) to know what that means. But if they don't get the hint and ask it as a Divination, I'm prepared to go all Yoda on them:
Here are some of the other questions they've come up with that I need to be prepared for:
I'd like to think they'll get my hints about not dealing with the devil, but this group tends to get things in their head and not let go occasionally.
So I think the key points I need to make clear to them in my answers are:
1. The magic circles only bind the devils to stay, not anyone else, so whoever enters them can walk right out again with no problem.
Once they get that much, they should be ready to go.
Thanks for the responses.
I do have one more question, which may be more appropriate to start its own thread, but I figure I'll just throw it out here, since it's about the same situation. My group is considering cutting a deal with the devil, and they're figuring that if they put it in writing, they may be able to word it in a way to keep the devil from screwing them over. One of the questions they're considering asking with Divination is just how strongly binding such a written deal would be. ie Is the devil physically incapable of ever breaking their word?
Not sure if this is a Pathfinder rules question or a Golarion specific setting question. This is a question for a Pathfinder adventure set in Golarion, so I really want to conform to the rules of both (though as the GM, I do have the option of making up my own rules, but I'd rather not).
What happens to a devil when it dies? Does it cease to exist altogether, or does its "soul" (is that the correct word when it comes to devils?) go back to the plane that it came from to get a new body? And if it does return to the Hell from whence it came, how long until it can return to Golarion to wreak vengence on the PCs that killed it?
I'm running a Paizo adventure path, and my PCs are in a position to either kill or bargain with a very powerful devil. They're overthinking the decision (they really should just kill it, because they don't need its help nearly as much as they think), and between sessions, they're emailing back and forth about the questions they plan to ask using the spell Divination to determine how they should handle this. So I'm trying to be over-prepared once they decide which Divination questions to finally ask.
My group left Jakardros, Vale, and Shalelu at Fort Rannick, after killing all the ogres there and chasing down Kaven to kill the traitor. The Mayor of Turtleback Ferry is sending word to Magnimar about the Black Arrows mostly being dead, in the hopes of getting reenforcements to repopulate the fort.
So after "defeating" Black Magga, the PCs moved on to Skull's Crossing. Despite me intentionally showing them the map of the wilderness area (so they could see that Fort Rannick is right along the way, though I didn't specifically point that out to them), the thought of stopping by to ask Shalelu and the Black Arrows to come with them never occurred to them. It wouldn't surprise me if they tackle Hook Mountain without them, too.
My group does a LOT of damage, though, so most of the fights have been too easy. I don't mind them not taking advantage of additional allies that could be available.
A lot of it depends on the players. Some like picking things apart, others just want a big sign saying "Adventure 5 miles ->". But the cryptic ones give you a better payoff when they work out just what it actually meant.
I like keeping it a little mysterious, but the spell description specifically says answers will be "useful", so there has to be something they can actually use, not just vague, cryptic hints.
Oh, they're into using it. They were just in a rush to track Kaven before he got too far last time. In fact, in our emails since, the guy playing the oracle has already said the he wants to use Divination next session to ask where Kaven was going. So the word "flees" will become "fled" in the answer about Kaven from the first post in this thread.
So I've been playing around with some rhymes while posting all this, fixing up some from the earlier posts, and here's what I've got for the flooding questions:
Why is this flooding happening?
Why is the dam at Skull's Crossing not working?
Why is there so much extra rain? (still not sure which I prefer)
Hmm... just came up with one about why Skull's Crossing isn't working, though I think maybe I should also mention the ogres attacking the dam, too. And why Black Magga fell through and ended up in Turtleback Ferry, but perhaps that deserves its own rhyme.
So I probably should have asked this sooner: Any suggestions for how to respond to questions about why the flooding's happening? I'm trying to come up with good rhymes that gives a little useful information without being too informative.
I've got these two possibilities:
I think the first one sounds better, but the second gives more information. But I also don't want to give too much information up front. Either one would lead them to Hook Mountain.
I'm also wondering if I should reference the ogres trying to destroy Skull's Crossing in there somewhere. For that matter, the fact that Skull's Crossing isn't functioning should probably be hinted at. And they might ask about Skull's Crossing specifically, which would require a different rhyme.
Yeah, I just ran the flood scene last week with my group last week, and also noticed that the town geography doesn't match the description of the event. So I ignored the geography.
My PCs don't know (or care) why there was a woman with a bunch of kids in a boat, being battered against one of the buildings (closest to the church, which was still a distance away). They just wanted to help them. And they did it in style - Levitate spell on the boat! The snake couldn't reach them, and it was no longer battered by the waves. Of course, I described the kids shreiking in fear when the boat first started rising, but once they realized they were safe, all was well. The group waded out to kill the snake (the description says the water's 3 feet deep, so I just treated it as difficult terrain, not actual swimming), and it was a short fight.
The boxed text also describes people visible in the upper floor windows of the church, so my group then grabbed another boat and started rowing towards the church to try and evacuate it. I gave them a few rounds to get there before Black Magga showed up, so they were already close to where combat would take place.
Of course, BM hits them with the breath weapon, and nobody made the 27 Will save to avoid the wisdom damage and confusion, so wackiness ensued. The oracle and sorceress both tried blasting Black Magga with Fireballs (or Acidball, in the sorceress's case), and they were glad they both had Spell Penetration, though only the oracle managed to damage her. By the time the fight ended, the oracle had flown to a safe distance to keep casting at her, while the entire rest of the party was grappled (I decided BM would immobilize every enemy rather than focusing her attacks and probably killing a primary target). Then she dropped her three grappled PCs and ran away, taking a longsword crit from the paladin as an attack of opportunity as she fled.
Luckily, my party aren't so big on chasing down loose ends. In my campaign, Malfeshnekor is still alive, because he kicked their butts the first time, so they decided to leave him trapped in his room until they were powerful enough to come back and punish him properly. They just haven't gotten around to it yet.
Mark Stratton wrote:
My group meets more often than yours, but we only play for 3-4 hours at a time. It's usually weeknights, and we all have to work the next day. We had a few delays when we could only meet once per month, but we're usually doing roughly 3 times per month these days. We had some delays through the holidays, too.
I think we started November 2013, and we're only halfway through Hook Mountain Massacre now.
My group is mostly balanced, they just don't have those particular spells. The arcane and divine casters are a sorceress and oracle who just don't have Raise Dead or Teleport.
But they do both have Fireball (flame oracle), and the sorceress has the metamagic feat to convert it to acid, which gives her an extra point per die of damage from her draconic bloodline. So troll regeneration won't be a problem.
Their bigger concern while a man down is whether they have enough tanks to keep the bad guys off the casters. They're used to having a cavalier and paladin both tanking in full plate and high HP, but now the cavalier is dead. They do have a ranger, but he's archery focused, and the ranger's badger companion is three levels behind what a druid's companion would be, so it's probably not quite tough enough to tank at this level without getting killed. Besides, they really haven't invested heavily in armor for the badger, since they figured they didn't need it up front very often before now.
My party did pretty well prepping for emergencies, except for this. They were actually walking around with 3 scrolls of Restoration, which the party oracle can use, that they bought in Magnimar before heading off to Turtleback Ferry. They've also got scrolls of stuff like Remove Blindness, Remove Curse, etc. One of those actually came in handy already, when a foe (I think it was the ogrekin sorceress, but I can't remember for sure) successfully hit the party archer with Blindness/Deafness to blind him.
They returned to Turtleback after retaking Fort Rannick, and I had the flood kick in. The party paladin got 2 negative levels from Black Magga's bite, so they'll need one more scroll of Restoration, plus one of Raise Dead for the cavalier who died at the fort. And maybe extras, in case they need them again in the future.
So besides offering them 1000 gp to investigate Skulls Crossing and find out what caused the flood, Mayor Shreed also said he'd send messengers to get a scroll of Raise Dead for them, if they provide the similarly valued goods to trade. So all those +1 Ogre Hooks they got at Fort Rannick will be sent with messengers (probably to Magnimar), and it'll happen while they're fighting trolls at the dam. There will probably be some waiting around time after Skulls Crossing before the messengers return, which is why I was trying to find some place closer that they could get what they need.
This also means they're a man down for Skulls Crossing, but it was a 5 PC group plus companion animal, so it should be ok. One of our players left a while ago, so we had one guy controlling two PCs since then, and it's his first one that died. So the player still has the backup PC to play in the mean time. I'm debating if they could use help from the two remaining Black Arrows and/or Shalelu at Skulls Crossing. Jakardros, Vale, and Shalelu are back at Fort Rannick and don't know about the flood yet, but it's on the way, so I could imagine the PCs stopping in there to let them know and asking for help at Skulls Crossing.
And after all that, they didn't cast Divination in tonight's session.
They chased down Kaven using ranger tracking skills, and accidentally killed him too quickly, so they didn't get a chance to interrogate him. They consider that a lost opportunity, but he didn't know anything.
Then they went back to Turtleback Ferry, and the flood happened. The snake was no problem, but Black Maga scared the crap out of them. They all failed their will saves vs the breath weapon, so they were all confused. She managed to grapple three party members and knock them down to low enough HP to scare them all, but not knock anyone out. The flame oracle managed to fireball her for a little damage during a round when he was able to act normally despite the confusion, and the paladin got a crit on his attack of opportunity with a magic cold iron longsword as she was fleeing. So they did a total of 30 HP damage to her and considered themselves lucky to not have any more deaths.
The mayor asked them to check out Skull Crossing, so that will be our next session.
So my first and fourth poems, above, will never get used. The second and third could still happen, though.
So one of my party died retaking Fort Rannick, and nobody in the party can cast Raise Dead. They've got the loot to pay for it, but I'm trying to figure out where the nearest city that would have that service available would be.
Kaer Maga's the closest big city, in straight line distance, but it'll be tough to get to. Magnimar is further than Kaer Maga or Korvosa, but it's a direct boat trip, so that's probably the fastest.
Is there a small town closer than those big cities where a scroll of Raise Dead might be available? I considered having the church in Turtleback Ferry have one available to buy, but that just seems too contrived.
Name of PC: Beramy Rollswagon
Story: Went toe to toe with the top ogre in Fort Rannick for two rounds. If Jaagrath's weapon hadn't had the Human Bane quality, he would have survived, but the extra 2d6+2 on top of the normal damage from three hits was too much for him to survive. If he'd gone unconscious after the second hit, Jaagrath would have switched targets to attack the paladin standing next to him, but he was at single digit HP after the first two hits, and the third hit easily took him past his negative Con score.
Oddly, given how deadly I keep hearing this adventure path is supposed to be, this was our first PC death. I guess I'm just a "soft" GM. We also lost Kibb the firepelt cougar in the fight against Lucrecia in Fort Rannick, but that's it for good guy deaths so far. There were two earlier fights where I could have killed PCs, but I let them get away with a daring rescue that probably shouldn't have worked in one of them, and I messed up the enemy tactics in the other.
So I'm GMing a group where the party oracle took Divination as a known spell.
They just finished retaking Fort Rannick. Kaven the traitor of the Black Arrows got away, but they killed Lucrecia and all the ogres. Their top priority seems to be tracking down Kaven, and they've got clues that will lead them to Commander Bayden's fae lover, but they seem to think they should have more leads about who Lucrecia serves. They got the name Mokmurian from her, but that's all they know, not where to find him or who he is or anything.
So I'm expecting some Divination castings, and I want to be prepared with intelligent (and rhyming!) answers.
Here's what I've got so far:
1. If they ask about Kaven (where he's going, who does he serve):
2. As I mentioned in another thread, they seem to think the Brothers of the Seven are more crucial than they are. They don't realize that they already killed that entire group in their sawmill in Magnimar. So I would expect at least one question about them. Given that they didn't get my vague hint about them being "gone" in an earlier divination answer, I figured I'd be more explicit this time:
3. They found Bayden's love letters, and no sign of him in the fort itself. Plus, they heard rumors in Turtleback Ferry that he was seen heading into the woods where the fairies live. So they might ask about him, and here's what I'm thinking as a response to that, though I'm thinking this answer might be a little too detailed:
4. And if they just ask a general "What should we do next?" type of question:
Any other thoughts? I'm trying to think of what other subjects they're likely to ask about at this point. And after the flood scene in Turtleback Ferry, they're likely to try another Divination for info on Skull's Crossing, so I'll have to come up with something for that.
So we just finished the retaking of Fort Rannick in Hook Mountain Massacre. My group entered from behind the waterfall and secret passages, and came upon Lucrecia as soon as they entered through the basement. Kaven ran away while the group was distracted fighting Lucrecia, and they discovered his treachery, though they don't know exactly how far it goes.
They've since finished killing all the ogres and clearing the fort. Since there are no obvious clues to pursue as to the bad guys' plans, they're all assuming that hunting down Kaven is their top priority.
The book (anniversary edition) says that he'll try to rendevous with Lucrecia, but that's no longer an option. Where would he go at this point? Should I make it possible to track his movement once he left the fort, or would the heavy rain in the area wash away footprints?
The oracle of the group also took Divination as a known spell, so I'm assuming they'll find useful questions to ask and track him down one way or another. I'm just trying to figure out how that should play out.
Yeah, me too. We just finished with Fort Rannick. My party is convinced that The Brothers of the Seven are a larger, more powerful group than they are, and that they're behind everything. Somehow, they missed that the brotherhood was just that group of losers they killed at the Seven's Sawmill in Magnimar. They're assuming that the judge there was one of the seven, and that there are six more still out there. LOL
The sad part is that the oracle took Divination as a known spell, used it to ask about the Brothers of the Seven being in Fort Rannick, and I gave them a response that pretty much told them outright that they were asking the wrong question. They still didn't get it. Apparently, they thought "The Brothers of the Seven are gone" meant that they'd already left Fort Rannick, not that the organization was all dead. I only used that wording because I wanted my answer to rhyme. :P Next time, I'll make it more clear that they're chasing the wrong enemies.
To be fair, if they plan accordingly, she's a lot easier to deal with. Even pre-nerf Xanesha can probably be taken down fairly easily if you don't climb up the Tower, but go in from the top. Personally, I'd reward them for thinking tactically about things rather than just kicking in the door and taking their lumps. They should be rewarded for smart play, after all!
Yeah, my group considered flying to the top of the tower, instead of entering through the door and working their way up. They decided that would use too many of their spells, so they might not be ready for what they faced (it would have taken all of the sorcerer's 3rd level spells for the day). But it probably would have made the whole thing so much easier that her lack of level 3 spells wouldn't matter.
As is, the tower offered some minor challenge until they got to Xanesha, which was a tough enough fight to scare the heck out of them. I could have killed a PC, but I had Xanesha attack the most immediate threats to her instead, which was a mistake on my part. She should have targeted the healer first (after seeing him heal someone), even though he wasn't the one hurting her. So there should have been a PC death, but I messed it up, and they just barely escaped with no deaths, despite 2 of them hitting -10 HP at least once during the fight.
And the petrification mask was a bust. That DC 15 (IIRC?) save is just too easy at that level, especially since I had her try it on the healer, who she had no way of knowing would have a better fort save than most of the others.
Well, the adventure path says she joins the group. And obviously, the Black Arrows join long enough to help retake Fort Rannick.
How long are these NPCs supposed to remain part of the group? I was assuming they'd help with the giants at Skulls Crossing and beyond, but now I'm thinking that after retaking the fort, maybe they'd stay behind to work on rebuilding there.
I'm not really good at judging adventure difficulty, so I'm not sure how to judge whether the PCs will need the extra help against the giants going forward.
Yeah, the faceless stalkers are pretty easy. So is the sawmill.
The judge has the potential to be tough if he can join the fight before the PCs are all over him. When I ran it, my group tripped and grappled him, so he couldn't cast. Remember that using his mask to cast Confusion is just a verbal action that doesn't provoke or require concentration. That was the only thing that made that fight even remotely interesting, due to our cavalier's smart use of combat maneuvers.
So my group is up to Hook Mountain Massacre (Anniversary Edition). Shalelu is tagging along, and I printed her page from the book to use as reference as a character sheet.
After clearing most of the ogrekin out of the farm last time, they're about to check the barn and rescue the Black Arrows next session (tomorrow).
So two questions. First (copied and pasted directly from the Community Created Stuff thread, where it didn't get any answers):
Second, the group will be leveling up soon, which now includes Shalelu. What do you all recommend for her advancement? The group already has an archery focused ranger, so she's kind of redundant, not to mention being nowhere near as good at archery, since the archer PC is just better built. It's probably about time for me to copy her to a real character sheet, so I can level her up easily when needed.
I love living in Chicago. It has all the advantages of a big city (tons of good restaurants, museums, live music, summer festivals, public transportation, more Pathfinder groups than I can count, etc), with a friendlier midwestern attitude than most big cities. And as mentioned, the drivers here are pretty tame compared to what I'm used to (just moved here from Florida two years ago).
Worst drivers: Florida. And the further south you go in the state, the worse they get. Miami drivers are just downright scary, and that's coming from someone who learned to drive and spent 2/3 of my life living in the 2 counties just north of there. I was amazed when I first discovered that as bad as the drivers are in Broward and Palm Beach counties, they're actually MUCH worse in Miami.
Back on topic, I've found that most of the maps for Runelords don't quite fit on a single flip mat. You can tell that Paizo started publishing those 24x30 blank mats after they published this adventure path, because there are so many 26x32 maps in the adventure, which I'm assuming was some sort of standard size at the time. As mentioned by someone else above, I just broke Thistletop into two sections, separated by the bridge in between.
But now we're up to Hook Mountain Massacre, and that Fort Rannick map is just huge, if you try and give them the overall map with the exterior, moat, outer wall, courtyard, and all inner buildings. I have a big rollout map (48x36), and I was thinking of using that and just telling them that each square is 10 feet instead of the usual 5. But combat might not occur there, depending on how they handle it, or only in certain sections, so I may refrain from drawing it and just draw small sections as needed when we play that part.
I'm also worried about the start of the 4th book, with all of Sandpoint becoming a giant battleground. Not sure how I'll handle that.
I had Xanesha go invis and climb down the side of the tower to heal herself during the final fight. Ran her as written from the Anniversary Edition, and it was challenging for my group that's plowed through most of the AP easily. I had a chance for her to kill someone in that fight, but I mis-played the tactics a little, so nobody died.
I have noticed a lot of tables where the GM doesn't ask people to introduce their PCs. I always go around the table as a GM and have people describe their PC, and introduce themselves in character if they want. If I'm playing and a GM doesn't do intros, I'll request it, and I've never had a GM resist.
As for being pigeonholed for being a race and class, I'll occasionally lie and/or be vague about what my character's class, but always do so in character.
For instance, when I introduce Green Beard the Pirate, I describe him as a big, ugly half-orc with a tri-corn hat and a necklace with a skull and crossbones, wearing a heavy wooden shield, mithral breastplate, cestus, and a whip on his belt. I then start talking in character and sound like it's "Talk Like A Pirate Day". Nobody realizes he's a cleric until he starts casting. And when they do realize he's a cleric, they'd better not ask for healing. His only healing is a wand of CLW, and he'll try to charge people for using it on them (not really, but I'll RP his being a money grubbing pirate looking for loot).
I also have a paladin who introduces himself as a samurai. It's not a lie. Samurai is his official position in his native country, and Common (Taldan) isn't his native language, so he truly doesn't understand the confusion this causes. This goes along well with his dumped wisdom (I wanted the points for str, con, and cha).
So... funny story. I decided to just go with it tonight. They were in Sandpoint for just one night on their way east from Magnimar to Turtleback Ferry, so I had a farmer report spotting the Sandpoint Devil, and they went out hunting. With two rangers in the group now that Shalelu joined, they were easily able to track it to the Devil's Platter and confront it.
First round, Shalelu wins initiative, rapid shots, and only one arrow hits, for 4 points of damage after DR.
Next comes the devil, and it howls at them (its bay ability). EVERY SINGLE PARTY MEMBER, including horses and an animal companion, misses the save, except for the paladin, who ironically rolled high enough but would have been immune regardless.
So they and their horses run away in a panic. I decided the devil had just eaten a cow that night, so it wasn't particularly hungry, and didn't bother chasing them down. They decided not to try again immediately (the paladin and ranger who really wanted to hunt it got voted down), but they promised to come back and try again after they're higher level.