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Round 4 - Enemy
Strength: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
With a final howl of frustration, you hear the chain snap in the north room. There are quick, heavy steps and then the door is hurled open
The small, stalky plant creature, despite its stature still manages to loom in the doorway
Round 5 - Heroes
The grease has now disappeared.
-Posted with Wayfinder
There's a lot of excellent advice on these boards about what to do with the main villain of this AP, especially how to introduce him earlier. I've taken on board a lot of it and I just wanted to share a little about how I've gone about integrating him into the story in my own ongoing PbP game here on the paizo site.
Well the first mention for me was in book 1 where Kendra got a letter of condolence from Adivion and apologies that he couldn't be there in person. He also said he was working on a position for her at the University of Lepistadt having some influence with the Dean there. This provided a hook for book 2 where he actually showed up in person. He, along with Judge Darramid, was the main driving force for the party taking on the Trial of the Beast. I utilised the FANTASTIC LETTERS FROM THE MAIN VILLAIN idea that Loki_Thief came up with and the first of these arrived at the end of Book 1.
Adivion offered support and advice and befriended the party throughout the Trial and was even present during the riot, helping to calm the crowd. Later, Auren Vrood was still present in the Schloss when the party arrived and was actually working on the machine whilst inside a force cage. The Beast turned up and a huge battle ensued with the Aberrant promethean afterwhich Vrood finished his work on the machine and took control of the Beast who attacked the party - leading to a very dramatic and heartbreaking choice of whether to destroy the creature they had befriended throughout the Trial. Following this the party returned to Kendra's house to find the place in disarray. Kendra was gone and Adivion lay dead.
What I really wanted to do was to constantly drop hints that Adivion was behind it all and the best way to remove himself from suspicion was to have himself killed (only to be later resurrected which also shows his level of planning, intelligence and resources). There were clues from the vision at the Stairs of the Moon, Lady Ivanja in the Lodge, the letters Adivion was sending and dialogue between characters.
Throughout it all I've wanted to portray him as the man behind the curtain, pulling all the strings. This culminated in the confrontation with Vrood in book 3 where the spirit retrieves his memories and showed adivion ordering Vrood to kill him and Kendra in order to put the party on Vrood's path. This was to punish Vrood for killing his friend Prof Lorrimor and also to distract them from his real work which was setting up the exchange of the Raven's Head in book 4.
This all worked beautifully. The party were convinced for 18 months in real time that Vrood was behind it all and were surprised when they managed to confront him and defeat him in Book 3 but when the spirit revealed Vrood's memories and the fact Adivion was behind it all - the player's were stunned. I then posted a huge reveal that tied together all the clues they had received in a kind of MOVIE FLASHBACK and the players were taken aback at how Adivion had weaved the whole thing together. He is rapidly becoming the best and most engaging big bad they have ever faced in their years of gaming and it's thanks mostly due to the fantastic writing in this AP and the advice I received on these boards.
Ah my fault, the rope bridge is the other side of the compound. You would approach along the path to the north east that exits between the trees.
The body is that of a human man past middle age. Despite his apparent frailty, he clearly knew something of wilderness travel. He wears old-style military winter clothing and carries both bow and handaxe, similar to how an army scout or hunter might be armed. He appears to have been badly beaten.
He has a composite longbow (+1 strength) with 12 arrows, a masterwork handaxe, and a pouch containing 14gp, 25sp, 48cp
Knowledge Local DC 10:
This man is Old Man Dansby, you've seen him around town once or twice. As far as you remember he had been complaining that someone had been stealing his crops
Let's get this moving!
Jon, blade in hand, appears around the corner of the room and comes face to face with Morbar. The warriors nod at each other and begin to move on.
Suddenly, the thick canvas sheets of the pavillion are pushed aside and out of the shadows come a pair of horrid crawling hands. They are massive, seemingly those of a giant and great patches of decaying skin peel from the bones.
Morbar: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
Round 1 - Enemy
The hands come scuttling toward the party, moving surprisingly fast
Hand 1, Markus, FF: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27 Hit
Hand 2, Jon, FF: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23 Hit
Round 1 - Heroes
Sorry guys, there is a trap in play here. Please pick up your RP afterwards though, I always like interaction between characters
Nasrin and Thorn leave the trail and try to circumvent the snowman. The going off the trail is extremely difficult, bordering on impossible. The depth of the snow is easily up to Nasrin’s knee though she ploughs on regardless.
Corum follows after, bulling his way through as is his way and Sapphire follows in the same path.
As they do so, however, a sudden high-pitched voice cries from the snowman:
Don’t you listen!
The snowman explodes with a huge crack, a shockwave emanating from it in a wide arc that sends snow cascading from the branches of trees all around you.
This effects everyone within a 15 foot burst. This kind of thing is difficult to judge without maps but I would think it would affect Nasrin, Thorn, Corum and Sapphire since the way 15 feet either side of the trail is pretty impassable
Sonic damage: 1d8 ⇒ 5
Nasrin, Thorn, Corum and Sapphire to make a Fortitude save DC 14 or be stunned for one round
C init: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Round 1 - Heroes (C, N, E, S)
Despite Morbar's increased speed, only one of his blows hit. Thrown off by the sudden boost Davos' spell has granted him, the others are turned aside by the wolf's blade.
Sebastian's twin blasts of flame flame into the wolf assaulting Jon though you can see the plates of scales resist much of the firey spell.
Sebastian, need to roll spell resistance. 1d20+your level
Round 6 - Enemy
W3, Falchion, Jon, PA, Favoured enemy: 1d20 + 12 - 2 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 12 - 2 + 2 = 18 Miss
W4, Falchion, Morbar, PA: 1d20 + 12 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 12 - 2 = 20 Miss
The pair, having regained their composure from the flight and the initial attack, parry the wolves' attacks and ready their own.
Ionocu stands at the back, an arrow in his hand and several others forced head down into the wooden boards. Once again his hands move like a blur but this time he has the priest in his sights and his hatred of all things good takes over. Even if he has to thread the needle he will see that priest dead!
Arrow after arrow sail at the Desnan but only one strikes him, deep in the bicep.
Ionocu, Manyshot, Markus, smite, DA, RS, PBS, Soft Cover: 1d20 + 14 + 1 + 1 - 2 - 2 - 4 ⇒ (1) + 14 + 1 + 1 - 2 - 2 - 4 = 9 Miss
Round 7 - Heroes
Polonius sighs as the old goblin explains.
He says that we are safe to cross the mountains now. But once he's gone the goblins will revert to their nature.
Nothing ever changes. he thinks as he trudges back to the chamber where they fought the chieftain.
He looks around closely at the remains. Whatever else the chieftain was he appeared to be able to mix chemicals with some skill and anything remaining of his gear would be more than helpful.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Is the exotic weapon proficiency really needed for sawtooth sabre in these builds? Am I wrong in thinking a gladius is practically just as good and then you have a spare feat to use on a save booster or toughness.
Or is there something I'm missing?
EDIT: where folks are trying to work in swashbuckler or slashing grace, I can see the benefit
Round 2 - Enemy
As Sebastian stands and fights, his comrades rush up to his aid, seeing for the first time the twin horrors that he faces and their necromantic masters.
The lumbering creatures tear into Morbar and Sebastian whilst the cultists both vanish!
Festrog 1, Bite, Morbar: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15 Miss
Festrog 2, Bite, Sebastian: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17 Miss
Sebastian's dexterity and Morbar's stout armor repel the blows.
Round 2 - Heroes
Before I continue, Cara can't see in the dark meaning she would have to carry a light thus making her stealth impossible. Im sorry this part has slowed down considerably but it is the nature of this pseudo-dungeon part of the book. I think if you want to scout in this situation only Sebastian is viable so I will continue as if he is going alone and you can let me know if thats wrong.
With the decision made, Sebastian exits the building and slips into the mist.
The others follow on behind and keep the monk barely within their vision as the swirling fingers of fog threaten to swallow him at any moment.
As he creeps along the border of the street, he begins to notice more and more buildings, many burnt out but a few still in at least a semblance of order.
There is also a great mash of tracks in the soft, muddy earth that makes up this part of the village. He begins to turn south west with the curve of the street and notices two buildings to the east. It's possible he could cut through them or else continue onwards.
Seb perception: 1d20 + 10 - 3 ⇒ (9) + 10 - 3 = 16
1d20 + 6 - 4 ⇒ (18) + 6 - 4 = 20
As he moves along, Sebastian begins to hear a pair of males in whispered conversation. As he strains to hear what they say, his foot gets caught in a particularly boggy patch of ground, made worse by the intense rain of the past few days. He pulls it out by his heart sinks when it makes a loud shhhlukk
What was that? one of the voices hisses.
Morbar: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
1d20 - 1 ⇒ (15) - 1 = 14
Enemy acts first
Come on, it could be one of the corpses wandering about, but let's go take a look.
Out of the mist come four figures, two humanoid dressed in the long black robes you have become used to associating with the Whispering Way whilst the others look like hideously mutated, animalistic corpses.
Their backs are crooked, bent like the back of a hunting cat. The back and legs of the creature appear to have once been human but are now warped and barely recognisable. The body is covered in tight sinewy muscle that seems to be compressing and warping its skeletal structure. The skin matches the rest of it's body in unpleasantness as it is covered in pustules and boils some as big as a fist.
Round 1 - Heroes
Perception: 1d20 + 6 - 3 ⇒ (17) + 6 - 3 = 20
One of the Way and both creatures spot the crouching Sebastian.
There! the cultist hisses, pointing out the as it raises a crossbow in his direction but snarls in frustration as the bolt sails wide.
Cultist, crossbow, Seb, FF: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9 Miss
The two creatures meanwhile bound toward the monk with alarming speed and try to bite at him with their oversized jaws;
Festrog 1, bite, Seb, FF, charge: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 7 + 2 = 23
Sebastian, I've no idea what your FF armor class is with barkskin active. Can you work out if those were hits and whether you are tripped or not please?
Round 1 - Heroes
Bear in mind if you fly, your visibility will still be 0 beyond thirty feet so you could in theory get completely lost without even the ground as a reference point and fly off somewhere out of the village. Also, I have updated the map above to show what you can see from this building. I will await a decision on how you proceed.
Ok guys, thank you very much for your patience and for giving me such a tough task.
I’ve read through each submission and considered different party balances/dynamics and I’ve finally settled on:
I would welcome the players above posting and introducing themselves in discussion before I get the game rolling in the next few days.
To everyone else, I have no doubt your characters will find a home soon, there were some really excellent builds here. Happy to provide feedback to anyone who asks for it.
I don't know what Vrood's purpose is, only that he's diggin' up all the poor folk who lay here in Feldgrau and turning them into walking dead. The dead can hide from the living but they can't hide from eachother. You bring me his head and I'll pull his memories from his mind and you can divine his purpose for yourself if you're that set on facing him. Personally, as one who is dead you should take it from me - don't waste your lives. Run, and don't look back.
I can't tell you where he is. But the centre of town is south east though there's dozens of dead and else besides stalking the streets of Feldgrau these days.
Oh that you could help me. the spirit says miserably, sitting heavily on the chair rather than climbing atop it. 18 years ago the soldiers came. They drank and ate and swore and laughed all night and then in the morning the killed us and burnt us. My family gone. My friends…. Like that last drop of ale in a tankard, all swallowed up.
I hid. he says shamefully. In a barrel in the cellar while the screams of people I knowed all my life was in the air. But I never lifted a finger to help or to hide them. When the soldiers left I crawled out like a rat but the town was gone, just smoke and blood. They threw all the bodies in a mass grave in the centre of town and that was too much and I came here to end it all.
And that was it. I was drifting. I remember just floating through the town, miserable in my lonliness, the other spirits here are trapped and angry and just haunt the place. I was fine to wallow alone, I deserve it.
But now the Dark Riders have come, they call themselves the Whispering Way and a man called Vrood leads them. I don’t know what they are doing exactly but I think they want to trap the spirits and take them away from here. I’ve tried to stop them but they have power over spirits and have banished me dozens of times only for me to come back . I can’t do anything about it, so I came back here to end it all…. Again.
The spirit doesn't respond. He loops the rope over the beam, climbs on to the chair before kicking it over and dangling sickeningly for a few moments before disappearing.
It appears again at the other end of the bar, once again coiling it's rope.
It's you, you're putting me off. Can't let them have me, oh...
Might want to try a diplomacy check
At first the spirit is nowhere to be seen, just the smell of mildew and rotten wood.
Then it materialises beside Markus, hands raised like claws, it's face a twisted mask of horror...!
But then it fades back and is once more the worried, old innkeeper.
I thought you were them. With your Whispering outside I thought you were them.
He floats to the centre of the bar and once again throws his ghostly rope over the invisible beam. He misses. Loops it up and throws again.
This time. This time it'll work
Maia Silndra Rose - Wizard - Arcane
To those who bowed out, thanks for your interest. Good luck in your games :)
The spirit continues wandering and weeping
It throws the rope over a beam that's no longer there and steps up onto a chair that now lies toppled to one side. You see it make the motion of kicking tge chair away before it flashes and is gone. Beside the chair is a pile of crumpled bones.
A moment later, the spirit reappears from a side room and hurries into the bar, looking over its shoulder and wringing it's hands, playing the routine through once more.
They are coming... With whispers and promises... Oh why can't I end it all? It worked before...!
Jon peers through the gaps in the tired old building. At first he can just see the remains of tables, chairs and a long bar running the length of the wall.
To the east is a staircase that one led up to a second sorry which has collapsed, leaving great holes in the ceiling exposing beams and broken plaster.
The eerie glow pulses and fades and Jon strains to identify it when suddenly a pale, green where face of a man appears at the crack, mere inches from Jons!
It mutters something and then fades away only to rematerialise further away in the bar. The spirit is of a middle aged, quite portly man with receding hair and a pained expression. He wanders hither and thither through the bar, ringing his hands and occasionally covering his face in grief
As you step back out into the street you notice a larger building to the north, now just about visible through the mist.
At first glance it appears typical of the others, decrepit and in disrepair. And yet there is something altogether different about it, a strange eldritch glow from within that moves and shines through the cracks in the wooden walls and the shuttered windows. It is only faint, but definitely present.
The building beside the chandelry is even more run down than the rest, ostensibly a dwelling at some point, now it is little more than a collection of burnt out timbers.
What you assume was the main street continues to the south west, choked with cloying mist.
Once again the room falls eerily silent.
Perception DC 20:
Along the walls and ceiling of this building are dozens of strange symbols and glyphs, written in a careful hand using thick black ink
Spellcraft DC 20 or Intelligence check DC 15:
These symbols are very similar to the ones you saw months ago on the foundations of Harrowstone Prison. They are possibly for some kind of binding spell.
Ok, submissions so far;
Maia Silndra Rose - Wizard - Arcane
As usual, if I've glossed over you somehow or miscategorised you, just let me know.
Elmae Valmia wrote:
JZ, are we using the full spell list (such as the one on Archives of Nethys)? I'd like to know, because if so, I'm adding Snowball to Yh'ari's spells known.
Yep, go for it. Personally I think snowball is a great spell. assume everything is ok spell-wise if it's from paizo unless it's particularly weird and wonderful in which case just run it by me first.
The flesh on the faces and hands of Markus, Morbar and Davos begins to bubble and burst, horrific black blisters of seared flesh erupt as unseen hands force their hands down into an invisible vat of hot tallow.
Then, struggle as he might, Markus is able to send a wave of energy out and Jon calls down a mighty column of white flame that burns away the spiritual soldiers and their crying victim.
Guys I'm on the road quite a lot today so won't get a chance to answer questions so briefly;
For backstory id like a paragraph or two about who you are, what you're doing in Taldor (live there, traveller etc) and how your campaign trait ties in. Personality, style and party role all helpful too. Whether you want to do this in a narrative or through a roleplayed 'montage' is up to you.
Yeah, sorry Cara I was posting from my phone so was awkward
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
Markus, Davos and Morbar fail
The sound of boots grows ever louder until suddenly it is as if a dozen soldiers are suddenly in the building with you and yet you can see nothing!
Screams of fear ring out around you while grunts if exertion and howls of pitiless laughter accompany like some horrid orchestra.
Markus, Morbar and Davos are suddenly seized by unseen hands and a woman's voice cries out NO! Please!!! But it is as if it emanates from each of their throats.
The trio are dragged helplessly across the floor and their heads driven down. To the rest of you it appears they have just been thrown to the floor but to them they can see the spiritual hands of soldiers seizing them and pushing their hands down into bubbling, hot candle wax.
Markus, Morbar and Davos Fire damage: 8d6 ⇒ (3, 3, 5, 3, 4, 3, 1, 4) = 26
Round 1 - Heroes
Hey Arunor, thanks for submitting. Cool concept by the way.
I've checked the character creation rules and one thing I did forget is I would really prefer good aligned characters. Sorry about that. I am all for conflict within groups, after all you usually are individuals just thrown together and it can provide some really interesting role play moments, but in my experience having evil characters just proves problematic in the long run.