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Bane Wraith wrote:
Pity that. Still sounds like an awesome campaign.
Ah, I see that I missed the class skill bonus.
Here is how I came up with disguise check.
So I should have had 56, but I didn't want it too high either, or my group wouldn't really have a chance.
Bane Wraith wrote:
I hope you find some means to rescue him from the players' grip, or have him rescued by some nemesis who recognises their talent for giving the players a hard time. Simply having the players paranoid of every new NPC they meet can be a treat in itself, and now that the Spy has a grudge, life could get difficult...
Unfortunately, my master spy is done. At this point in the campaign, the PC's will be busy gathering their allies, trying to stop an enemy army from uniting, while fending off intrusions from various 3rd party countries who are trying to take advantage of the situation. They've also learned to keep the chain of command tighter, just in case another spy comes along.
In the interest of time, I really didn't give much background on what the spy has really been doing for the entire campaign. But maybe you'd be interested in this short summary of some key campaign points.
* From the very beginning, the spy's reported on troop movements, and watch changes along watch towers across the frontier. The PCs never really figured out how so many enemy troops were able to sneak across the border undetected. Their commanders did have a suspicion.
*A high ranking priest found that his loved ones were captured by the enemy, and secretly told that if he didn't do as they wished his loved ones would die. Knowing the man's magical prowess and pride, the spy correctly guessed that he would try to secretly handle the matter himself.
At one point I had a flow chart of who knew who and who the spy was manipulating. Over the course of levels 10 to 16, the PCs slowly chipped away at these. This sub plot was always rather secondary to other events that kept taking the PC's attention, so they were never really able to investigate these mysteries at length.
Bane Wraith wrote:
Well done to your players! Pity the Spy took such a chance...
Yes. I was agonizing over the; Would he go for it? Is that bait really good enough? This guy's been patiently under cover for years. Is this worth him taking the risk?
At the end of the day, he knew the circle was getting smaller. Less secrets were escaping, and he knew they were hunting for him. He visited the target twice before and didn't notice anything that seemed out of place. He couldn't really flee since his masters could potentially kill him for abandoning the mission. In game terms too, the PCs are getting close to hitting 17th. He was quickly getting outclassed.
In hindsight, I should have also given him a Sense Motive check, which if he succeeded and sensed something was up with the cleric, he would have resumed a role as a minor peasant or low ranking soldier, maybe waiting for years to take another attempt. But either way, he was out of the game.
So we started the game this afternoon and the PC's had four outstanding missions. The first they decided to tackle was a plan to find the spy. The high general had already tightened the chain of command and deduced that he could trust 5 top leaders and the PCs.
The PC's themselves had just returned from a diplomatic missions which turned violent. After debriefing with their general, they agreed that they would let it slip that they recovered a document written in some form of code from another nation and that the group's scholarly cleric would spend time decoding the encryptions. Essentially, the encoded information belonged to a leader of the 3rd party that both the PCs and the spy's country wanted to win as an ally. Very interesting information for the spy, potentially.
The rest of the PC's pretended to disembark on another mission. In reality they were taking shifts keeping an eye on their friend as he read through some fake documents, keeping them always on his person. He kept guards at the door and only allowed a servant to come to him for food.
On day three, one of the guards was the spy. The cleric actually chatted with him a bit, but did not see through the disguise or sense anything was wrong with his motives. The spy for his part didn't get a look at the documents.
Day four was similar. On day five, the spy took a chance and chatted with the cleric again, attempted a death attack, and failed. The PC's were watching at the time, and teleported to the hall (very familiar place for teleporting). The spy tried to flee, but was tackled and taken prisoner. A brain drain from the oracle revealed enough information, and the prisoner was sent off for a quick military trial.
No, sorry, to be clear, the PC's only know that there is a spy somewhere in an army that is occupying a massive castle. The legion consists of about 1,000 and the support is probably just as much. The castle's population rotates frequently as the army patrols a very large area, so at any given time there's probably 1,000 in the castle complex. They know the enemy has been gaining access to some important information, troop movements especially. They're sure that the spy is not in their inner circle of commanders (yet). They do know the enemy has a secret organization skilled in the ability to assume any disguise, even that of close friends. They also suspect that this enemy could be changing identities fairly often, so today's chambermaid may be the spy, but tomorrow it could be the legionnaire guarding the gate.
Well, there's also the fact that killing all your support staff isn't going to be helpful either. :)
Thanks for all the feedback. This is helpful.
Part of their challenge is that their also dealing with:
Regarding commune, the results on that spell have been unclear so far. Campaign wise, the gods of this world don't intervene too much without consequences from opposing gods. Now, one more level and their clerics will have access to Gate. If they use that spell correctly, I'd say they will have their spy.
I'm hoping they come up with a creative bait. So far they have been having secret meetings, feeding false information, and doing something completely different from the plans they've let slip.
Regarding scent, would that be a complete give away or just a penalty to the disguise check? I'm leaning toward a penalty. If someone can create a disguise that is good enough to fool intimate relationships, they should know how to counter scent.
So here is the situation.
I’m the DM.
My homebrew campaign is at 16th level.
The PCs are operatives of an isolated legion under siege from several hostile groups. They know beyond a doubt that there is at least one spy in their midst. Their problem is that every strategy they’ve used to find him has led nowhere.
This spy has been in their midst somewhere between 5 to 10 years. His primary mission is to observe and report when he can. He is disguised as a servant to a high level officer. Even with being disguised as a different race, his disguise check has given him access to almost every area, though he cannot attend secret planning meetings.
He’s a Rogue 10/ Master Spy 10. I’ve ruled that divination spells are not locating him due to his abilities.
How would you locate him? I’m thinking that they need to bait him with a trap, but want to see if I’m missing something more obvious.
Here’s a link to his stats.
Are you playing adventure paths? A home brew?
I'd play an unchained rogue, maybe a ranger. As a solo PC, you don't have a prayer with most adventures and encounters. You need to max out stealth, maybe disguise, and investigate everything prior to ever committing to combat. Only enter combat when you know you have an absolute chance of success.
Here is a half-giant psychic. I should point out that I was never a fan of half-giants with psionics, whenever that was introduced. However, in this world, half-giants are kind of a down-trodden race. Most believe they were artificially created by another race for use as slaves and war. Some free half-giants embrace the good of both their human and giant heritage. However, there are some who rebel against everything of the world that insults their pride; giants, humans, and even the gods. A growing political power is a group that seeks to establish half-giants as the dominant power, the next step in perfection if you will.
I planned on having this group be run by anti-clerical wizards, but then Occult Adventures came out, and well, this just seemed to fit for one of the villainous groups.
Just some things I might do if it were my game.
1. Make that final Boss at CR24. In my experience, CR at higher levels gets odd and favors the PCs enough that you want to go +4 on an epic fight. Add in the fact that you have 5 PCs rather than 4 and I’d add another to the APL. A Black Great Wyrm Ravener is CR21 if I figure correctly, so either add some class levels or another template to bring that up.
Be prepared for the group to simply ignore any natural obstacles you place there. Even with limited system mastery, if they look at the spells available to them, they will be flying, windwalking, or scouting out your bog from the ethereal plane. They won't be stepping in mud, or worrying about thickets, unless you completely nerf their abilities.
Immunity to poison and disease should also be easy for them.
Natural animals and predators aren't going to be a challenge either.
If it were me, I'd start with who the enemy is and how long you want this one shot to last (one four hour session? a couple weeks of game play?) With the BBEG in mind, you then figure out how he/she/it would defend it's lair from high level opponents. You have 5 18th level PCs, so I'd probably be looking at a final enemy at CR22 to 23.
When this spell activates, how quickly does the new form take place? The PRD says this.
If at any point within the duration of the spell you are reduced to fewer than 0 hit points or are slain by a death effect that is not mind-affecting, you can immediately let your current physical body die and assume the record of your physical body on your next turn.
Does "immediately" indicate that it is a swift action, and thus the caster can act normally for the rest of his/her round? In other words, the caster gets wacked by Mr. Fighter and sent into negative hit points, upon his round, Mr. Psychic, reappears and . . .
A: Twiddles his thumbs because his reappearance takes up his turn.
I'm leaning towards option B.
I enjoy the entertainment that I give to my friends and family.
Sometimes there’s not much reward. Other times, I can see the excitement on their faces and it is worth all the effort.
I’ve been DMing for about 30 years now. I’ve been running the same homebrew world for almost 20. I love it when I hear people telling stories about my games or how intricate the setting is.
About two years ago, I somewhat reluctantly started a game for my daughter and her friends who were then juniors in high school. They enjoyed the first game and more showed up after hearing about it. When graduation came, I assumed we’d be done since most were going off to college. I was surprised that they wanted to keep going and some would play via skype when they could.
I enjoy seeing my players encounter interesting situations, conflicts, and characters.
I also love tactics and strategy. Since I usually have a good idea on what my PCs can do, and survive, I like to create epic battles.
And some of the best enjoyment is when a few players hang out after the game to talk about the game, what happened, and what might happen next.
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Yes, this is not a problem in my game. In fact, most lairs will have counter measures for even high level spells. Most of the rulers are CR 20+, and plan accordingly. I've got a scene coming up where the enemy is obviously begging for a scry and teleport sequence, of course it's a trap. Now, it may play out differently.
The travel domain is a good idea, but we're not going to re-write PC's that have been in play for over a year (it might be longer).
Ah, I meant to reference Wind Walk in my first post not Air Walk. That spell may do the trick. I think I was overlooking how fast they could move and the total distance they could cover. Thanks for all the feedback.
I know it may seem odd to want teleport back in the game, but I built the high level parts of the campaign to require some high level spells in order to accomplish the challenges.
The PC's are basically a special forces unit for an empire that is being attacked on several fronts. Political leader's are being assassinated, and several powerful enemy forces are converging on the region. There are several instances where they will need to defeat one force, and then very quickly get to the other side of the empire to quell another threat.
I'm currently running a campaign that is at 15th level, and we will no longer have a wizard in the group moving forward. Fortunately, the group has two clerics and an oracle (seer).
The problem I'm seeing is that the group relied heavily on teleport. I'm not seeing many options for clerics to quickly whisk the PC's around an empire until they get access to 9th level spells (Interplanetary Teleport).
Am I missing something? I don't even see any summoned monsters that can help (I'm guessing that is intentional).
Air Walk seems too slow, or maybe I'm reading it wrong. Control Winds would help that if it were a cleric spell or there was a druid in the group.
Any pointers would be helpful.
I distinctly remember either an item or a class ability that allows an assassination to be made at range (up to 30 feet), but I can't seem to remember what it is now.
If you happen to recall what may allow a ranged death attack, I'd love to know. I was building an assassin for my homebrew, and wanted to have him shoot from a distance and then disappear. I was surprised to find that really wasn't an option. That and the DC isn't too hard to beat (at least against the martials he would be targeting the most).
Char-Gen addict wrote:
Why is this again? I know I've heard this before. While I'm not the biggest fan, I have one in my current campaign that destroys encounters that aren't prepared to counter her ranged attacks.
Wouldn't it be great if someone came out with a supplement that let you take just about any monster and turn it into a boss fight?
Unfortunately, that is almost the equivalent of asking "wouldn't it be great if someone gave me the recipe to writing a great novel or movie script?" Beyond the good advice of some posts in this thread, creative encounter design, and creative final boss encounter require, well, creativity to make them unique and memorable.
With that said, I fall into the camp of hating solo BBEG's. They are anti-climactic, and disappointing for all. I use a method similar to Mr. Hoover, almost. The average party can handle 4-5 APL encounters per day. My BBEG lairs tend to have that many encounters in them. And they tend to be in close proximity to the BBEG. Sometimes, the PC's can pick off one or two enemies at a time. Sometime they raise an alarm, and are facing the BBEG and all his minions at once.
I agree and I see that I should have been more clear.
There will be a couple demiplanes which belong to a family of casters (or an organization in another case), which have been permanent for generations. The planes exact location is fairly secret, but some research with the right people, may point them in the right direction on how to obtain the information on these hideouts.
The personal demiplanes will be much harder, and there may be few clues that they even exist. The PCs will need to find the right information through the adventure, in particular by capturing the enemies notes and documents, maybe interrogating the right captured enemies .
I agree that the rules aren't clear, but I also think it may be a good plot hook. Odd thing is, that in this particular campaign the BBEG is an arcane caster who has many spell casters under him, and is tied to a spy organization. So in my mind, the PC's could potentially run into many enemies with their own private planes. Working against them is the fact that they've had a real hard time fighting a spy organization that seems to have several people bought off in almost any populated area they need to work in. Someone will eventually see them disappearing (spellcraft check), or overhear about the planes existence. Then it's just a matter of the enemy casting enough divination spells.
I also agree on that idea that deities may not know everything. At least in my homebrew, I think the general attitude would align with "why would I ever look into what all the puny archmages are doing with minor demiplanes?"
As for the bad guys, I'm thinking that if they ever brought someone else to that demiplane, and that certain someone told someone else about it, and then maybe it is mentioned in a piece of correspondence that the PCs recover, that would also be a nice "mundane" way of giving them a clue.
My group has a Seer archetype oracle, so they don't have any problems with divination. However, sometimes the sheer power of being able to ask anything causes little to be asked at all.
Hmmm. I could have sworn I stumbled across something that would reveal the location of a personally created demi-plane somewhere. But I could be imagining it.
To be clear, I'm thinking on this from both the player's perspective and the DM. I'm running a homebrew where the PC's will have access to this spell soon, and they may run into a few enemies with their own demi-plane safe houses set up.
While I don't think I'll go with every focus fork is tuned to every plane ever, I may figure out some way in which the PC's or an enemy of the PC's may discover and locate said demiplane.
If an enemy's plane has been around for a while, I may allow some research to provide a knowledge check (DC 20+), or I may drop some clues where the enemy has been. Otherwise, it appears that divination spells would be required, and then the creation of the focus fork.
Say you have a PC or even an NPC, who created a permanent demi-plane, and he exhibits a habit of retreating to this demi-plane. How would his enemies eventually find it? A knowledge check? Commune?
The rules seem to be fairly silent, unless I've missed something. I'm also assuming that once the enemy knows the demi-plane exists, a planeshift spells will get them there.
2. "Unchain" (har har) melee characters from having to stand still to get all of their iterative attacks. A high level fighter should be able to clear a room with the greatest of ease, not stand in the doorway and have to wait for people to crowd him.
This. Why can't a high level fighter eventually make a double move for a vital strike, and then eventually a full run and end in a vital strike, or move between attacks up to his/her base speed, and later move between attacks up to double speed, and ultimately sprint at full speed making attacks all along the way? And he can even do it flying.
(I'm hoping someone tells me I've been missing some feat or rule that allows this.)
Don't forget moving has a penalty as well. -5 more for half speed (which would include stealthy movement, even though the stealth bonus overwhelms this it still stacks on) and -10 for full speed, which would include for a typical human a single move action of 30ft for instance. (he's standing still casting the spell, then jogging at full dash speed for 3 seconds).
Though the fight is over, I don't think this would have applied. The -5 penalty is IF the flying invisible sorcerers were trying to use stealth. They weren't. They were just relying on invisibility, and the great distances they could have put between them and the PCs.