@ Majuba: Thanks for pointing that out. It means they'll only need to be 12th level. (That's a few XP less than 15th)
For Tsar I think it is most advantageous for the party that they be able to teleport out because of the effects that come from staying overnight in the city.
The Midnight Peddler is a great opportunity to warn player's, mess with player's minds and have fun. I'm setting up an antagonistic relationship between him & the ravens and his personality is a bit Soup-Naziesque. (for flavour) He's also a good opportunity to address the dearth of roleplay options that you mentioned earlier.
I was having a similar problem with my group sticking to the road. I had the setting sun cause something to be visible in the distance, just for a moment, and they were off looking for it first thing in the morning.
I'm not too concerned about the teleporting - the Magic Users are going to have to hit level 15 before they can teleport the entire crew (includeing familiars and animal companions).
I think the treasure found so far has been adequate as well. It's just that a treasureless dragon, of that age & stature, feels wrong to me. I haven't read far into Tsar itself but based on what DaveMage says I'll make the treasure a significant challenge to retrieve.
Have your players been using the Create Treasure Map spell?
Terminal velocity for a human is about 120 mph ~ 176 feet per second.
Gravity accelerates you at about 32 feet per second so you hit terminal velocity after ~ 5.5 seconds.
Assuming you've started at a speed of zero you'd have an average speed of 88 feet per second which means you would have travelled about 440 feet.
You can easily argue that the max damage for a human is 44d6
Dwarves = 20d6 due to the drag caused by their beards.
Chefs with a chicken on their shoulder require an offset based on the bird's lifting capacity.
It was a best laid plans thing:
Our Paladin nixed de-stoning the ranger because of her evil vibe but he didn't smash her and I expect that some day they'll realize that gear was left behind by doing this.
Similar for the Sorcerer except their logic was that they already have one slow little character (a gnome) and they don't want any others. It was more a let's pick on the gnome thing than anything else.
In the end they chose a dwarf because he looked roguish and they've had some unhappy experiences with traps and a wizard because the archane magic users in the group wanted his spell books. The rogue is still with them but the wizard teleported away when the party was being particularly disfuctional and a retriever showed up. (Illusionary)
My group is now at the crossroads having explored the Rift pretty thoroughly. While there the Ragechemist's alter ego wished to be the ego 'in charge'. I'm still working on how that will play out.
They have also decided that they are about to head into the boiling lands or maybe just go straight for Tsar just to see if what is there is as bad as they have been told. (Fortune favours the bold eh?)
Father Death certainly is an interesting case - he's presented as being rather benign and I'd say that he is in fact neutral and not evil the way he is presented.
I'm with you on the paladins & evil side of things. I take evil to be activily trying to put yourself ahead of others at other's expense so there is evil and greater evil but no lesser evil.
Was the dust-up within the party the result of alignments?
I like the victims/bandits suggestions but I have backed myself into a corner by already telling the PC's that the only non-monsters that look like they could survive being turned back to flesh include someone who looks magic-useresque, a roguish individual, a cleric and someone who looks rangerly.
If you could give me general descriptions of the personalities and objectives for Daisy and Jody that would be helpful and will hopefully make for some interesting cross-polination. If they have crazy names, so much the better.
For the other two I'll make one be under a geas and the other....still to decide.
I'd imagine the boiling lands to look like one of those deep undersea vents except squashed flat and then squished to the point where it is somewhat concave.
My group just finished dealing with Old Death and have some blood left over after returning stone members of the party to flesh. Now they have to decide which of Old Death's collection they will use the blood on.
They don't need any additional party members so I'm trying to sort out who these statues will turn out to be. Any suggestions? I might use Daisy Ranger and Jody Sorcerer for two of them.
No - No television.
(A great way to practise blank stares during watercooler conversations.)
The animal sacrifices don't seem unreasonable from a game perspective. I know one of my players would never go for it while some others would. I like the Evil Dead angle, even if it doesn't happen they'll have that nagging doubt.
My group grabbed the chain of beguiling from the tomb of the last Justicar so capturing a demon should be quite doable.
I'm just tweaking things, like having the ravens be more talkative and obviously caging the party or making some treasure more appropriate for the party, instead of out and out adding things in.
I do want to deal with the lack of other adventuring parties and caravans but haven't come up with any solid ideas yet. I'm toying with the idea of some type of wheeled boat/longboat or a sail powered walking thing as part of a caravan from the north.
Go to Sail Power Walking Thing.
Teleport will be of limited value to start because per the spell descripton:
You may also bring one additional willing Medium or smaller creature (carrying gear or objects up to its maximum load) or its equivalent per three caster levels
So at 9th level you can only teleport a 4 player party that doesn't have any familiars or animal companions.
Oy - you're prepared and then some.
Anything right up to and including the evacuation. Argos role seems to be a sort of rear guard in case things went sideways and that seems to me to be something that would have happened near the end.
Argos himself will probably have a lot of questions for the party and may start asking them questions before they start asking them of him.
About the 50 & 1 or does the temple of Orcus still stand (he can then describe it to them so that when they arrive in the city at a later date they realize.....)
I like the monk/cleric combo - it's going to be interesting when she gets to higher levels and can outrun the cat. (A bit embarassing for Tony.)
Camp wise my group didn't go much beyond stabling horses for a night and meeting a few of the denizens. They were so ticked at the iron bits and the rate of exchange that they left the next morning but the Usurer is on their 'list'.
I agree with you about the lack of equipment for NPC's and other groups you encounter. I added a fair bit of survival gear to the bandit's camp figuring that the bandits would have needed it to survive and knowing that the party would be able to make good use of it. Poof! up it went in a fireball.
I'm hoping that my group does some hiring next time they're back at camp but they are all really ticked with the gold to bits converstion and look at the guide rates as being excessive.
I thought tiny hut was exceptionally helpful for the bone storms and acid rain. The first bonestorm would probably have killed most of my group if not for the wizard having it memorized.
Your group is progressing at a pretty good pace. We only get in a few hours a week and the group has spent most of their time in the chaos rift. The week before last was the Justicar's tomb (re-aligned to Saranrae) and last week was the bandits.
The party managed to take out Ratbait because the wizard tried a Glitterdust hail mary on the big demon and ratbait failed his save. They couldn't figure out what Ratbait was but nuked him as a reflex.
I'm giving out hero points, without the cheat death ability, as 'boons' from the Gods and our priest of Saranrae gained one from Saranrae for rescuing the Hope and then used one to stop himself dying of poison when dealing with the bandits by re-rolling his last (fatally) failed save.
That's brought us to 2 deaths and about a dozen "oh this is bad's" which I think is pretty ideal from a game enjoyment standpoint.
The group is holed up on the bandit caves and this week will include a visit from the Midnight Peddler whom I've yet to introduce them to.
@ brvheart & Bill Webb
Agreed - it all depends on the flavour you're going for.
@ Bill Webb
The game is going very well and my group is really enjoying the weirdness and harsh environment aspects of the adventure. It's caused folks to tweak their gaming styles and made things more enjoyable so thanks to you & your team.
@ James B. Cline
I like weather table, especially the the thunderstorms. My group has found that the bonestorms are particularly nasty so a thunderstorm wil put them on tenterhooks.
I haven't been giving the party any movement bonus for being on the road. My feeling is that it's too damaged and abused to be of benefit beyond being a navagational marker.
@James B Cline,
When I started planning for this adventure I looked at the scaled distances on the maps versus what is stated on page 35 in the Desolation Primer section:
"The Desolation stretches roughly 70 miles east and west and 50 miles
I felt that the size of The Desolation shown on the maps was just too small. I revised the scale so that it took 3 days travel to reach the crossroads. They are now down in the Chaos Rift and almost out of supplies which means their cleric has to burn a 3rd level spell everyday to keep them and the horses fed and they are very conscious of being far far far from help.
At the top of this thread you mention the desire for more NPC's for them to interact with. Some possiblities include a wandering survivor from a caravan or a full blown caravan heading south to The Camp, creatures/NPCs turned to stone, and always the possiblity of opponents that they encounter asking for quarter instead of fighting to the death. (My group took out Gurg but then stabalized him and ended up with him acting as an unpaid guide for a few days - out of shame. They've also parlayed with a Wyvern)
Thanks for the update Superlurker. Most of the mortality you are listing comes from encounters that my group hasn't run into yet.
The closest the party I'm came to deaths was with the Hill Giant, the Hydra and their first Bone Storm. They have had party members go negative in each of those cases but the party has done a very good job of sticking together and they have 3 characters with some healing ability.
I'm curious to see how my group makes out - I think this is goign to be an encounter where the luck of the roll can make a big difference.
Yesterday was our ST game and with a lot of exploration of the Chaos Rift they still got into 3 combats in around 4 hours with 4 players (light turnout). I can easily see how this could get very deadly especially if the party is not very diligent. They are about to go up against the gargoyle lair and it they don't handle it right it could be a TPK.
My group is just about to go up against the gargoyle lair - how did your group make out?
"4 - 6 depending on attendance" - does that mean you have characters appear/disappear based on who shows up? If it does I'm curious to know how that works out.
With children and other responsibilities we rarely have a full contingent but it means someone else plays a second character so that the party doesn't have a sudden loss in abilities/resources.
The only thing that stops me from 3pp stuff is volume & time. There is alot of it and I don't have the time to sort through it.
These boards are helpful. I picked up Slumbering Tsar based on what folks have posted and it's worked out well.
And yes, 90% is stuff is crap because only 10% of stuff is Scottish. Simple math:p
My group played SFSS ages ago. We had one experienced player taken by the chupacabra on the first night and that set the 'oh no' tone.
I also remember the goats were a comic/horror highlight. Play up the goats, make them mean, have them follow the party and act like wolves stalking prey and it will add to the weirdness of the place.
It sounds like everyone is having a good time with ST. My group is large and I use a system similar to brvheart's so the ability scores are pretty high. I also stay away from hero points but I might build on brvheart's "you are not heros yet" idea and provide them as a boon from their patron deities for their displays of faith and resolve. (I've been trying to think of ways to make Gods be more than 'that guy the Cleric knows'.)
It's difficult to imagine horses surviving very long in the Desolation with all the storms & hungry critters.
My intent is to run ST as a school of hard knocks. Nothing malicious but no punches pulled either. I am expecting that it will be quite the change from AP's where the encounters are tailored to the expected party level. It is good to hear that ST isn't completely fatal.
My concern is that they don't know it's going to happen and then the way everyone and everything detects as evil could mean that a couple of nights into it 1/2 the party is evil, the other half doesn't know and then after some evildoings are evildone I have players ticked off at each other.
I'll give it a try as written and see how it can be managed.
Thanks for the responses.
I'm starting up a Slumbering Tsar campaign and have a question about:
the alignment shifting that can occur if the party rests overnight in Tsar. How disruptive has this been to play? I'm worried about the party having to figure out the problem and then trek over to the crypt that repairs the alignment shifting. Did you find it a problem or did you substitute some other effect?
The first AP is the best of the series for a play it as written AP.
Take admonishments to pre-read and plan in advance seriously. Set things up so that you can have serious rivalry taking place during 2nd and 3rd books of the AP. Modify things based on your players likes dislikes.
I used dreams/nightmares to do some foreshadowing you may want to focus on the oracle for that if the idea appeals to you.
I modified the Mwangi to give them all purple eyes (Southern Azlanti's)and added a serious racial bias to the colonials to up the tension with our one Mwangi character.
If you're going to add one more character give them a heavy dose of knowledge skills. A rogue with interest in antiquities and perhaps some family ties to antiquities dealers could work.
Foreshadowing helps on Smuggler's Shiv.
Have them encounter footprints that lead in the general direction of the cannibal's camp or anything else you think would be interesting.
Have the Red Mountain Devil make a kill a couple hundred yards from camp - loud and noisy in the night but only blood if they check it out.
If they are on the beach they may see the Dryad swimming in the distance.
Have one of the NPC's vanish - except for tracks. They can run into trouble and need rescue or just wander to somewhere interesting.
Have the goats turn hostile...it's dangerous and funny at the same time. Even if it isn't foreshadowing.
There is also Ishouru's treasure map.
I added a level 13 Charu-Ka Shaman to the Gorilla King's retinue then allowed each side to have one minute to buff.
With the group I have the buffed version of their meat grinder was more than a match for the Gorilla King so I had him 'cheat' with the shaman using shield other as one of the buffs. The Shaman had to heal himself a couple of times to avoid death.
I use paper-mini style tokens for monsters so I made a goodly number to impress upon the party just how big the Gorilla King's retinue was. They won the duel and realized what had been going on with the shield other but held back on payback because they were intimidated by the sheer number of opponents. I'm not sure that the would have held back if they didn't have a visible indication of how many opponents they would have.
So the party has encountered the 'Storm of Cleaning' in Ilmurea. It turned out to be a super-big 300 hp Gelatinous cube which ended up giving the party a serious challenge. For the sake of nostalgia (and those of us old enough to remember) the also encountered gas spores and carrion crawlers, all of which seem to fit very nicely in Ilmurea.
I'd recommend dusting off more bugs and slugs (with advanced templates) to up the general 'ick' factor. In our campaign it has given Thousand Fangs a stonger feeling of being 'elsewhere'.