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Gremlin, Pugwampi

John Mangrum's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 329 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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James Jacobs weighed in on this topic back in 2011:

Worldwound terrains

Timesaver: cold, forest, mountains, plains, and swamp. The region's most notable feature, the rifts spreading out from the heart of the Worldwound, is considered mountain terrain.

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I wouldn't sweat it. The pugwampis primarily rely on their unluck triggering environmental hazards to damage the PCs as it is.

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Voyd211 wrote:
Red foxes sound like the cries of the howling damned.

This is completely true, for the record. Imagine the sound of a feral housecat attempting to imitate a lost and frightened child.

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It was written for 3.5, so the Fast progression track is the closest to the mark. However, the 3E and PF XP tracks aren't identical, so conversion can produce some unintended results. It's entirely possible for thorough PCs to end House of the Beast a full level ahead of the curve, and if that happens, they'll probably remain a level ahead throughout The Jackal's Price. By the end of The End of Eternity, however, XP progression normalizes again and PCs should remain on target through the end of the campaign.

Personally, I'm running LoF on the Medium XP track. This smooths out the House of the Beast bump, at the cost of having to add a few side missions to Howl of the Carrion King and a widening XP gap that starts to kick in during The End of Eternity. (I'm filling that gap with side adventures; I inserted Broken Chains into the middle of The Jackal's Price, which has put my PCs a level ahead of the curve for the moment.) If you run LoF on the Medium track, I also recommend seeking out the "Designer's Cut" of The End of Eternity; it adds a lot of XP opportunities to the sandbox, which makes it fit the Medium track rather well.

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The immunity to fire certainly would have helped Sammadar in a battle, but fire elementals don't just deal fire damage with their slam attacks. If we assume for the sake of argument that Sammadar was a by-the-Bestiary efreeti (AC 25, 95 hp) and compare stats, that elder elemental would have needed natural 1s to miss with its slams. If Sammadar got himself blindsided, that one elemental could have put him down in as little as 3 rounds, even without its burn special attack.

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My group just recently concluded this adventure. Here's a sad statistic about the difference between live and virtual gaming: We got together for Origins 2013 and blasted through about half the module in a weekend. Playing online via D20Pro and Skype, it took us another 8 sessions to complete. With some exceptionally long and unplanned breaks in there, that means we started in May and finished in December!

Anyway, I'll post a recap shortly.

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I did not make this map, but I use it regularly to determine day/night cycles.

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Zaister wrote:
Well, except for the first two APs , where the covers featured the iconics, hasn't the "BBEG" (I hate that term) always been on the cover of AP part six (exception: Jade Regent)?

Technically, the genie on part 6 of Legacy of Fire is intended to simply be generic, but it seems that most people treat it as an illustration of the BBEG (as do I). The genie on part 5's cover was likewise initially generic, but has since been retconned into a specific NPC--for the purposes of naming a Reaper mini, at any rate.

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The ease with which I could use Paizo's PDF maps in D20Pro is one of the things that weaned me back into gaming. I do have to spend a few minutes in Photoshop to convert the map squares' pixel width into whole numbers, but I only ever recall one map that gave me memorable issues with attaining the correct proportions.

(To note, I do appreciate that they quickly ended the practice of slicing large images into numerous smaller ones--using maps from the early days requires assembling them like a jigsaw puzzle.)

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Generally speaking, since serpentfolk are CR 4, a DC 14 Knowledge (nature) check is enough to see one and go "Yep, that's a serpentfolk, and they're monstrous humanoids." At each +5 DC beyond that, (DC 19, DC 24, DC 29), you gain additional information, which various folks handle various ways. As written, at each tier of knowledge, the character learns one new fact (a special attack, or a defensive ability, etc.) I'm more generous myself and tend to offer an offensive quality, a defensive (or otherwise notable) quality, and a bit of "ecology fluff," such as languages, habits and so on.

I sometimes also ponder adding a +5 modifier to the DC if a creature is particularly obscure (such as a creature only found in the arctic in a tropical campaign, or one thought long extinct), or possibly even a +10 if it's incredibly obscure (native to another world, or vanishingly rare), but I haven't actually ever put those house rules in place. If I did, I'd go with the +5 modifier for the mostly forgotten serpentfolk.

I also write up lore tables in advance*, going from "most essential" to "most obscure" in order of revelation, but other GMs use entirely different means of determining what the PCs learn. I think James Jacobs asks his players if they want to know something offensive, defensive, or otherwise about the creature, and then selects something from that category.

* Despite being in the early stages of running Serpent's Skull, I haven't actually typed up a lore table for serpentfolk yet (and don't have time at the moment to do so on the spot), or I'd include it here.

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Within the Inner Sea region, how common are wayfinders outside the hands of the Pathfinder Society? Do they attempt to maintain a monopoly on them, or are they fairly widespread? (Well, as widespread as any magic item.)

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WillowX wrote:

User junglefowl26 posts the following:

junglefowl26 wrote:

Not Africa also includes -

The most technologically advanced nation in the world, and the sole maker of guns.
The world's greatest magic academy - and the most ethically sound
A utopic civilization with direct ties to celestial beings
A mighty matriarchal militaristic empire
And a few other undetailed civilizations and cultures.
These are all really cool. Why weren't any of these on the poster? They're much more interesting than what was presented.

Some of them are off the map. The first one is mentioned on the poster.

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I have notes and conversions for Legacy of Fire here on the forum as well.

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Here's another option to try as well.

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My thoughts lean toward People of Mana for Nex, Geb, and the Mana Wastes, and People of the Lamp for Qadira, Jalmeray, and Katapesh. Those groupings, at least; titles are not my strong suit.

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With vampires in the game, there is at least a long-standing (and suitably vague) mystical connection between a private residence and its owner to help justify this spell's quirks.

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Evil Lincoln wrote:

I'm thinking about doing this.

Right now the party is 6th and they're about to enter Kakishon (after a totally rewritten book 3).

Anyone have ideas on how to fit LOF and COB together? Where Mythic might come in?

Are you referring to the boxed set?

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Blue Tempest wrote:
Other then Shattered Star, are any of the other Adventure paths considered "sequels" to past adventures?

Jade Regent takes place a few years after Rise of the Runelords and acknowledges those events, but as APs they're loosely connected at best, tied only by two NPCs and JR's starting location.

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The general pattern I use is this (which varies slightly from the rule as written):

At the creature DC, I give the name of the critter, type, subtypes (it's an aquatic magical beast; it's a chaotic evil outsider--a demon; etc.). Note that if numerous possibilities exist based on physical appearance (is that a werejackal or jackalwere?) I'll hold off on the Knowledge lore until the creature has demonstrated a few of its defining powers.

For each +5 above DC, I provide two bits of statblock lore (rather than 1, as the skill actually says), typically a special attack and a defensive ability or special quality, plus a sentence or so of "fluff." Languages spoken generally gets included at the CR+5 level. To determine what lore to provide, I go from most significant to most obscure. Take a vampire, for an example. Since it's a template, I generally use CR 10+template modifier to determine the lore DC, rather than the CR of the full templated creature. So, with a vampire, that means that at DC 12 I reveal that it's a vampire and undead. DC 17, it drains blood and is destroyed by sunlight.

I'll sometimes pack extra info info in for really complex creatures (like vampires, actually), because even when giving out lore at twice the recommended rate, the DCs for Knowledge checks can otherwise skyrocket into mythic realms. My version of vampire lore goes up to DC 27 and is densely packed; at a straight 2-per-+5 DC rate those DCs would probably reach the high 40s, just to learn that vampires can command the children of the night and can't enter a house without an invitation.

I actually went through and wrote up lore blocks for nearly every WotC creature back in the 3.5 days (might still be available on their old forums), and I've been updating them as needed for my Pathfinder games.

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Early in the line--the 3E Campaign Setting, I think--briefly lists the Lust Festival (first full moon in Calistril) as a Calistrian holiday. Since then, however, Calistria's been described fairly consistently as not being into major set holidays, so the Lust Festival seems to have quietly faded from canon. Without double-checking, I think individual temples may recognize local events important to their faith as regional festivals.

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Back when I was working on Ravenloft, my general take was that even a rampaging lycanthrope perceives its own familiar as "part of itself," and thus wouldn't attack it. The familiar, on the other hand, would still be assisting its bestial master to the best of its ability. The same spiritual connection doesn't exist regarding animal companions, however, so they don't get that protection. Unless, of course, the animal companion is the same sort of base animal that the lycanthrope turns into--then it could be accepted as a member of the hunting pack, so to speak.

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I don't think it's quite that short, but when I encountered this problem in the past I developed a quick fix: After writing a long post, I hit CTRL+A, then CTRL+C before clicking "Submit Post." (Select All and Copy, for clarity.) If it then happens that I have timed out, I can just paste the text back in.

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Can't remember experiencing any as a player. As a GM, I've run one and came close to a few others. The actual TPK was the first encounter in The Red Hand of Doom, essentially a random encounter with a hydra. What neither I as GM nor the players understood about the 3E hydra was that it was a vicious exploit monster--it struck me in hindsight that entering melee with a hydra without having the Improved Sunder feat was a death sentence. The melee fighter rushed in and was immediately overwhelmed; now the other PCs needed to save him and engaged, but were overwhelmed in turn.

In a near-TPK (different group, different game), a stealthy PC slipped into a villain's lair to scout (and loot) it, but was captured. The sole other PC watching her back was forced to flee, getting separated from the rest of the party for a few days. Another PC went in after her -- and was immediately captured. Fortunately for all of these PCs, the baddies in that case found the PCs more useful alive than dead, so they all got out alive eventually. Before that came to pass, however, it came down to the last two PCs debating whether the higher moral responsibility was to go in after their lost allies or to cut and run, since they were also watching out for a young NPC.

I'd say the theme connecting the actual TPK and the close calls was player ambivalence. Namely, a foe engages them, and the PCs can't decide whether to take it on or to flee, so rather than doing either, they hang back. One PC ends up closing with the foe (or the foe closes on them), and has to take it on alone while the others urge the PC to flee. Then that PC goes down, and now the other players know they have to try to save that PC, but some of them still want to flee, so another PC jumps in and goes down, then another, and then another.

In action movie terms, the PCs suddenly turn themselves into the stereotypical mooks who line up to take on the big foe one at a time rather than as a coordinated team. Whenever the PCs have immediately engaged a challenging foe as a group, they've always pulled through (with the very occasional lone casualty).

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Here we go; I statted up the expedition leader and typical guard for my option:


CR 8 (XP 4,800)

Female Mwangi oracle 9
CN Medium humanoid (human)
INIT +0; SENSES Perception +2
AURA faint chaotic

16, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor)
HP 63 (9d8+18)
FORT +5, REF +4, WILL +9
RESIST FEINT DC 25; RESIST DIPLOMACY DC 29 (hostile), DC 24 (unfriendly), DC 19 (indifferent), DC 14 (friendly), DC 4 (helpful); RESIST INTIMIDATE DC 21

30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
MELEE +1 heavy mace +6/+1 (1d8)
SPACE 5 ft.; REACH 5 ft.
ORACLE SPELLS KNOWN (CL 9th; concentration +13; ranged touch +6)
4th (5/day)—charm monster (DC 18), cure critical wounds, divination, dominate person (DC 18)
3rd (7/day)—animate dead, bestow curse (DC 17), create food and water, cure serious wounds, fear (DC 17)
2nd (7/day)—cure moderate wounds, hideous laughter (DC 16), inflict moderate wounds, lesser animate dead, levitate, minor image (DC 16), silence (DC 16), spiritual weapon
1st (7/day)—bane (DC 15), charm person (DC 15), cure light wounds, detect charm, detect undead, protection from evil, speak with animals
0 (at will)—detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound (DC 14), light, mage hand, mending, purify food and drink, read magic, resistance, stabilize

Baroness Harizi uses animate dead to maintain a full stable of human zombies, replacing destroyed zombies within a few days as resources become available. These zombies are stationed within earshot of wherever she is staying, or accompany her when she travels.
DURING COMBAT Harizi relies on her spells and zombie allies in combat, falling back to her mace only if given no other option.
MORALE Harizi flees if reduced to 15 hit points, sacrificing zombies to cover her retreat.

8, DEX 10, CON 13, INT 12, WIS 14, CHA 19
BASE ATK +6; CMB +5; CMD 15
FEATS Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, Oracular Intuition (UM), Persuasive, Prophetic Visionary (UM), Toughness
SKILLS Bluff +11, Diplomacy +17, Intimidate +17, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (nature) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +14, Survival +13
LANGUAGES Abyssal, Common, Polyglot
SQ oracle’s curse (haunted), revelations (craft juju fetish, false death, spirit vessels)
COMBAT GEAR potion of barkskin +2, potions of cure moderate wounds (2), potion of hide from animals; OTHER GEAR +2 lamellar horn armor, +1 heavy mace, cloak of resistance +1, antiplague (4), antitoxin (4), defoliant (4), healer’s kit, kaava musk (2), parasol, scent cloak (4), spell component pouch, wooden holy symbol, valuable material spell components worth 800 gp

All juju fetishes Baroness Harizi creates are treated as being CL +2.

FALSE DEATH (Ex) Any creature under the effect of Harizi’s charm monster, charm person, or dominate person spells appears dead to any examiners. Although affected creatures do not detect as undead, they look pale and death-like while under the effects of her magic. Additionally, an affected creature ordered to lie still gains a +20 circumstance bonus on Disguise skill checks to look like a corpse.

PROPHETIC VISIONARY: Once per day, Baroness Harizi can enter a deep trance to receive a vision of the future. The trance lasts for 10 minutes, during which time she can take no other actions. If she is interrupted, she must begin again. When she comes out of the trance, she knows whether a particular action in the immediate future will bring good or bad results, as an augury spell with a 70% chance of success.

SPIRIT VESSELS (Su) Baroness Harizi can channel wendo spirits into lifeless bodies, reanimating them to aid her. Necromancy spells that create undead lose the evil descriptor when she casts them. Mindless undead created by her magic are of neutral alignment, while thinking undead she creates are chaotic neutral. When using animate dead spells, she can control a total of 54 HD worth of undead creatures. In addition, any zombies or juju zombies she creates using lesser animate dead or animate dead possess maximum hit points.

The Freeman insurgent is, logically enough perhaps, just a slightly boosted version of the guys the PCs face in Racing to Ruin:

CR 3 (XP 800)

Mwangi human fighter 4
N Medium humanoid (human)
INIT +2; SENSES Perception +1

18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +2 Dex, +2 shield)
HP 34 (4d10+8)
FORT +6, REF +3, WILL +2; +1 vs. fear
RESIST FEINT DC 15; RESIST DIPLOMACY DC 25 (hostile), DC 20 (unfriendly), DC 15 (indifferent), DC 10 (friendly), DC 0 (helpful); RESIST INTIMIDATE DC 16

30 ft.
MELEE mwk club +9 (1d6+5) or
unarmed strike +7 (1d3+3)
RANGED mwk composite longbow +7 (1d6+3/×3)
SPACE 5 ft.; REACH 5 ft.

17, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 10
BASE ATK +4; CMB +7 (+9 grapple); CMD 19, flat 17 (21/19 vs. grapple)
FEATS Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Step Up, Throw Anything, Weapon Focus (club), Weapon Specialization (club)
SKILLS Climb +7, Intimidate +6, Profession (porter) +7, Survival +7
LANGUAGES Common, Polyglot
SQ armor training 1
COMBAT GEAR alchemist’s fire (5); OTHER GEAR masterwork hide armor, masterwork heavy wooden shield, masterwork club, masterwork composite longbow (Str +3) with 20 arrows, antitoxin (2)

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I think Khelavraa's ideas and mine might mash-up well.

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I've been working on ideas as well. My thoughts have been going in the direction that introducing a native Mwangi faction might also be a good opportunity for PCs who want to be more in charge--creating their own faction, in other words.

So, in my campaign, I'm thinking of working with the Freeman's Brotherhood. Spoilers, I suppose.


Once the PCs deal with the overtly violent Freeman's Brotherhood revolt early in Racing to Ruin, I'll have it be the case that Umagro and his thugs represent a particularly violent offshoot of the Mwangi liberation movement, but not its core principles. Once Umagro's band is dealt with, PCs who investigate the group would learn that with Umagro out of the way, the most influential leader in the movement is rumored to be an elderly woman who lives in the edges of Eleder's farmlands--the self-proclaimed "Baroness" Harizi. Among the colonials, she has a dark reputation as a necromancer whose turf is guarded by zombies. However, she isn't vocal in her opposition to the colonial occupation, she doesn't seem to be dangerous unless provoked, and it's her own people she turns into walking dead, so the colonial government has seen fit to simply keep a wary eye on her and otherwise leave well enough alone.

The local Zenj commoners, however, know that the colonials misunderstand Baroness Harizi. She isn't a necromancer, she's a juju oracle, and she's long served as a spiritual advisor and healer to her people. Her zombies aren't quite what they seem, either.

She sees Umagro's fate as typical for hot-heads who openly oppose the colonials, so it doesn't occur to her to try to beat the Sargavan government to the latest rediscovered city. However, if the PCs slips the thought in her ear and inform her of the Saventh-Yhi's historical significance, she quickly warms to the notion of claiming the lost city--which she views as an ancient symbol of foreign occupation--as a Mwangi free state where her people could anchor their liberation movement.

As a faction, the Freeman's Brotherhood is strapped for material resources, but they can draw upon a huge pool of manual labor, further augmented by Harizi's undead.

As a group, they would still need trailblazers -- the Mwangi jungles are deep and inhospitable no matter who you are. Well, unless "who you are" equals "king of an army of intelligent gorillas," I suppose.

Here's the faction camp stats for parts 3/4:


PC BENEFIT: The leaders of the Freeman’s Brotherhood are both wise and ruthless in the practice of juju. If the Freeman’s Brotherhood camp is attacked, so long as the expedition leader Harizi survives and the camp has not been completely destroyed, it automatically removes 1d6 Destruction points 24 hours later as Harizi and her followers channel wendo spirits into the fallen to replace slain guards and workers with zombies.

LEADER: Self-proclaimed “Baroness” Harizi is known to the Sargavan government as a witch and necromancer, a frightful reputation she fosters to keep the colonials at bay. In truth, she is an insightful (if somewhat eccentric) spiritual leader who sees herself as a guardian of her Zenj peers. Her mindless zombie servants are animated by wendo spirits, not trapped souls, and she exclusively uses the corpses of defeated enemies or Mwangi volunteers.

Baroness Harizi cares little for wealth or glory, instead seeking to lay claim to Saventh-Yhi as a power base for Mwangi dissidents to push back against foreign colonizers.

Baroness Harizi is a CN 9th-level Mwangi oracle with the Juju mystery. I've statted her out in D20Pro but haven't typed out a stat block yet. I can do so if anyone's interested, though.

I also agree that if a native Mwangi faction is introduced, one of the existing factions should get wiped out on the road to Saventh-Yhi or in short order once they do arrive, just to keep the AP's assumptions working smoothly. As for which one to eliminate, I would just knock off whichever one the players care about the least.

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Many thanks!

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Serpent's Skull: Colonialism.

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Daronil wrote:

I'm a bit confused about the conflict points during background generation (which I think is my favourite section, actually).

I understand that CP increase your place on the alignment track, but I can't figure out which track to use: the Law/Chaos or Good/Evil. It seems that the CP are all lumped in can't be that you just evenly split them, or you'd never get mixes from the ends of the tracks (LE, CG, for example).

As I understand it, you can either place all of your CPs (up to 9) in one track (your choice which) or split your CPs between the two tracks as you see fit.

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Well, that'll teach me to read tabloid agitprop right after I've woken up.

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I immediately have three questions that the link conspicuously fails to answer: What school? Where in Canada? Is there indeed any truth to this factoid whatsoever?

Heck, I'll toss in a fourth: Where did this "clipping" appear?

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Lore checks for creatures at high CRs and/or with numerous powers and special qualities can climb that high, depending on how generous a GM is with those checks.

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What level are your PCs? If they're in the neighborhood of 7th-11th, then offhand I'd suggest that adapting PFS 34: Encounter at the Drowning Stones might work in a pinch.

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Thanks! Just don't mind the typos! Let me know how any of this works out for you.

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A Player Companion/Campaign Setting one-two punch of Blood of Genies[i] and [i]The Elemental Planes would be pretty sweet.

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The transition from part three to four of Legacy of Fire is, let's say, a major shift in gears and a feasible jumping-on point. Players/PCs who start there would be a little lost, but no more than intended, really. Part six would lose some of its luster, however, as it's mostly set in revisited locations from parts 1 and 2.

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Ooh, pickled punks! :)

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In my campaign, I introduced Amwyr Yuseifah and his slave caravan early, giving the PCs a chance to encounter him (and perhaps rescue some of his concubines) before he spends a year in captivity. Not much "adventuring" involved, but some nice roleplay as two of the PCs scrambled to pool all the cash and valuables they had one them, managing to buy nine of Amwyr's 12 slaves, then find respectable occupations for them around town. (Two became house servants in the Wharfmaster's Manor, two became employees at the Infusium, two became handmaidens to Lady Mayor Almah, one became an acolyte at the temple of Sarenrae, and two accompanied a PC on his nine-month journey abroad.)

Alternatively, you could try this 3rd-party adventure: Death in the Painted Canyons. With the caveat that I know nothing about this adventure past its back-cover blurb, it seems like it could be slotted in as the PCs helping Lady Almah establish her authority against conniving rivals while striking a first blow against some of the Carrion Tribes.

Actually, if anyone has uses DitPC in a Legacy of Fire context, I'd be interested in hearing about it, though its window of opportunity has long since come and gone in my game.

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Nigel Findley passed away from a heart attack in 1995, I'm afraid.

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Howdy Ruloc -- I've sent you a private message with a request to swap characters.

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Very nice! My players will not be mistaking that for an unchosen.

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It's quite a nice set, with artwork detailed enough to be "blown up" for use on a virtual tabletop. My one quibble: No Black Milk Mother!

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Boy, I hope that blog post comes tomorrow--(looks at clock)--I mean today! I'm kinda locked into running this in some fashion for my group at Gary Con on Thursday. With that in mind, I've started crunching Broken Chains to see how it slots into LoF. Non-spoilery first reaction stuff:

First of all, it's a long adventure with a lot of variety in the opposition. On the medium XP track, 4 PCs who start this adventure fresh at 6th level and are thorough in their work could very well come awfully close to reaching 8th by the end--toss in a few random encounters or have them start a little past 6th, and reaching 8th may be within their reach. Which means that, were to you bump everything in here up by +1 CR, this could function as a replacement for The Jackal's Price for those who are so inclined.

I, on the other hand, have been looking to slot this in alongside The Jackal's Price, so to that end I think I'll mostly be keeping the levels as they are. May keep the first section as written, then punch up the final sections, as I think about it. Bump up the entire adventure to suit 8th-level PCs and you'll wind up with a massive XP infusion to deal with. (If 4 PCs are 8th level when they begin Broken Chains, they can earn enough XP to reach 9th, and if they're 9th--as they might be if they hold off on this until dealing with TJP--they won't quite reach 10th level.)

Also, and this is a major benefit, Broken Chains really "feels" like Katapesh. A lot of cultural details that Legacy of Fire barely touched upon--such as pesh, slave rings, humans and gnolls living side-by-side--get plenty of screen time here.

As for my thoughts on tying this into Legacy of Fire: The adventure itself really just tosses you into the action, allowing GMs to come up with their own hooks to explain how the PCs are initially approached.

Now I'll get just a touch spoilery:


As I write this, my PCs have just defeated the Sons of Carrion and are half a day away from reaching Katapesh and kicking off the next section of The Jackal's Price. Here's three possible hooks I have to ponder to tie them into Broken Chains, which begins with an Eagle Knight agent recruiting the PCs to seek out an undercover Twilight Talon who's gone missing, amid signs of foul play.

* Amwyr Yuseifah: My group's PCs rescued this broken old slaver back in House of the Beast and have managed to get him home to Katapesh--amid much debate as to whether he really deserves to live at all--to receive their promised reward of a coffer of gold and their own exotic slaves. (Most of the PCs want their slaves so they can turn around and free them.) My inclination is to tie Amwyr to the Garden of Chains, perhaps having him come back after his 16-month exile to discover that his business partner, Fat Aghurr, has steered their slave ring down a path so nasty that it falls beyond even Amwyr's remarkably callous comfort levels. If Amwyr's lost his fortunes and influence, he may find himself demoted from co-owner to lowly auctioneer--and if that's the case, then there's a secondary NPC (Saiyd) that he can seamlessly replace.

My PCs are bringing Amwyr home, even accepting his payment of slaves, but that doesn't mean they like him. In fact, the night before they reach the city, one of the PCs' cohorts--who entered my campaign as one of Amwyr's concubines, purchased from Amwyr on his way to Pale Mountain--made it pretty clear that left to her own devices, she'd kill him and leave him for the vultures. So Amwyr's none too fond of the PCs, and while he scurries about to secure their reward, he's also bad-mouthing them to anyone who'll listen. That might catch the ear of the Eagle Knight who kicks off the adventure.

The only real downside to tying Amwyr to the Garden of Chains is that the nature of the slaves he specializes in doesn't really match the sort of chattel the Garden of Chains deals in. But it's not unworkable.

* Haleen Tropp: This NPC, who may be closely tied to one or more of the PCs, ran off from some bad debts in Katapesh back in Howl of the Carrion King. In my campaign, she's the sister of one PC and the cohort of another, and now she's come back to Katapesh with them. I've long been intending to add a short side adventure to address Haleen's bad debts in Katapesh, and this may fit the scenario. The simple solution: The Eagle Knight who recruits the PCs offers them a nice chunk of change for their efforts. If the PCs are somehow hard up for gold, this may be motivation enough. My PCs, on the other hand, are a wee touch cash-poor but otherwise quite wealthy by any reasonable standard. I've established that Haleen owes her money to someone tied to the Duskwalker Guild, but I've otherwise been keeping things vague, with the intention of sucking the PCs into a den of thieves as they discover that Haleen's shady beneficiaries don't just want their money back, not even with punitive interest--they want a pound of Haleen's flesh for reneging on the debt in the first place. I haven't yet quite worked out how to tie into Broken Chains from this angle, but the baddies in this adventure are actually running an illegal (or at the very least gray-market) slave ring, which the Duskwalker leadership wouldn't approve of, if they knew. Perhaps, Haleen and the PCs start to get mired in dealing with the Duskwalker Guild, and then our undercover Eagle Knight could approach them with this job as a chance to appease the Duskwalkers by quietly eliminating a corrupt wing of the guild.

* The Demon Smugglers: Perhaps the most organic solution, but also the one requiring the most work: Make Father Jackal and this cult affiliated organizations. The Garden of Chains baddies handle "production," while Father Jackal oversees international "distribution." There's even an NPC in Broken Chains you could reasonably refer to as "Mother Jackal." Were I do to this, I would probably convert Father Jackal's lackies from a Rovagug cult to Lamashtu followers, and have the heroes' raid on FJ's lair produce evidence that leads them to the Garden of Chains.

Dunno. Still thinking. Have about 54 hours to settle on a solution. :)

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Pazhvann was the first to appear, drawing the PCs to the oasis, where he tried to barter for the Scroll of Kakishon with a low-ball bid of a carpet of flying. The PCs, who at this point have become rather paranoid due to Zayifid's ongoing meddling, were rude and confrontational, so as soon as the PCs noticed the Sons of Carrion coming, he provided some backstory on the warband. (Unable to locate the Scroll with his divination spells due to the PCs' countermeasures, he'd been following the Sons for a while now as they hunted the PCs.) Then he rolled up his carpet and vanished; "I am not your enemy, but plainly, you are not my allies." He shifted to the Ethereal Plane to observe the battle, and the PCs assumed he'd gone entirely.

The PCs then had a few minutes to prepare, spending the first few discussing tactics and then when I officially "started the clock" they spend 15 rounds prepping. Two PCs take to the air, and another perches up on top of the sphinx with a cohort and Amwyr Yuseifah.

Wave One: Shiz sends her first wave over the ridge, sending in the Sordaiv berserkers first with the intention of using them to soak up the PCs' spells and bombs. (And hey, they're human, so she considers them completely expendable.) The raiders ride in on dire hyenas, splitting up and spreading out as quickly as possible to force the party alchemist and sorcerer to "waste" their artillery on single targets. The PCs toss down an entangle spell and later a wall of fire to wall themselves in, forcing the Sons of Carrion to take long approaches to reach them. Rather than sticking to the round-by-round schedule of each wave as published, I sent in Wave Two about the time half of Wave One had been dropped. Meanwhile, disguised as a Carrion Guard, Zayifid spends the first wave of the battle flying invisibly over the battlefield, making a beeline for the isolated party sorcerer.

Wave Two: Shiz sends her in Three Jaws gnolls and more hyenas. About half of the Sordaiv raiders are still standing, with most of the survivors in covered positions and plinking away at vulnerable-looking and exposed members of the PCs' group with bows, managing to do a little damage here and there. Just as Wave Two starts closing in, Zayifid appears, popping into view as he sneak attacks the sorcerer, badly wounding him--it's only the sorcerer's mirror images that keep him alive. This shuts down the sorcerer and the cavalier/ranger races up to run interference. Amwyr panics (he's literally lying prone at the feet of what he thinks is a gnoll assassin) and drinks a potion of gaseous form the PCs had provided him with. The sorcerer dispatches his wounded cohort to watch Amwyr, so she drinks her potion of gaseous form as well. This effectively removes both the cohort and Amwyr from the rest of the fight. With the sorcerer and ranger/cavalier busy, the Sons of Carrion start pressing in closer; some of their dire hyenas reach caravan members, but the Outriders are keeping them at bay. The sorcerer flees to the cleric, and the alchemist is still raining bombs on the enemy. After trading blows with the ranger/cavalier, Zayifid turns invisible again, taking to the air.

Wave Three: Shiz, her mutant ettin, and three Carrion Guards crest the ridge with her last three dire hyenas. Shiz has spent the intervening rounds casting as many buffs as she can on herself, including protection from energy (fire) for her and the mutant ettin. (In a pure oversight on my part, however, I forgot to have her cast protection from energy (cold) on herself, leaving her vulnerable to the sorcerer.) Shiz and the ettin keep the alchemist busy; he drops several explosive bombs on them, but is frustrated by what little effect they're having. Meanwhile, Shiz penetrates his protection from arrows with a critical hit from her human bane crossbow, and the ettin's acidic breath weapon takes him by surprise as well; the alchemist is forced to retreat and regroup. The cleric channels energy, and Zayifid reappears in the air above him, flinging daggers down at him. The first is a sneak attack and badly wounds the cleric. The Sons of Carrion are getting pretty tattered at this point (there's literally dozens of bodies piling up all over the place, some of them on fire), but Zayifid taunts the PCs, laying out his new tactic: he's just going to kill one of them here and now, preferably the cleric, but anyone will do. Then he'll retreat and recover, and be back in a few days to kill another. And then another, and finally the last of them, until he gets what he wants. What Zayifid (and the PCs don't know) is that Pazhvann is hovering nearby, silently observing everything from the Ethereal Plane. As soon as Zayifid appeared in the battle, Pazhvann started buffing himself, then invisibly returns to the Material Plane. When he suddenly burst back into view, he's a 12-foot-tall figure of awe and terror, clad in glowing armor, and he zaps Zayifid with a dimensional anchor. This is great for the PCs, who'd been so preoccupied with the Sons of Carrion themselves that the cleric failed to prepare his usual Zayifid countermeasures that day. The sorcerer pulls out a scroll and zaps Zayifid with glitterdust; now Zayifid knows he has no option but to fight to the death, and at this point he knows he's doomed. Pazhvann and Zayifid trade a few bitter words, but otherwise Pazhvann simply hangs back, content to have his foes all wipe each other out.

Meanwhile, a combination of bombs and spells have finally whittled Shiz down, and a single arrow from an Outrider drops her. No longer shadowing Shiz, the mutant ettin now starts charging the mounted Outriders, knocking two unwounded warriors into negative hp in as many rounds. A Carrion Guard moves in the ettin's wake, intent on coup de gracing any fallen foes it reaches (but ultimately it only reaches one Outrider). The alchemist, who's down to his last two bombs and basically digging through his pockets for magic to keep himself going, hucks one bomb at Shiz when he sees a Carrion Guard races over and pour its healing potion down her throat, then hurls a bead of force at the ettin, hoping to trap it as it's barreling down on the central group of PCs. The bead fails to trap the ettin but badly wounds it; on the other hand, it vomits another spray of acid all over the alchemist, leaving him, again, barely conscious.

The ranger/cavalier flies over to the wounded ettin and slays it in one blow with a well-timed critical, and Zayifid drops down to attack the fleeing cleric, finding himself having to cut a path through the PCs' minions. The ranger/cavalier's leopard companion pounces on the badly wounded Zayifid, dropping him into negative hp. I kept him conscious for dramatic purposes, but at this point he drops to his knees and he's done. The ranger/cavalier shares a few words with him, then coup de graces him.

While the two Outriders still on their feet trade blows with the last Son of Carrion still standing off in the distance, the battered PCs find themselves warily eying Pazhvann, who looks rather uncomfortably like the wrath of god at the moment. Pazhvann is plainly pondering whether to simply take the Scroll of Kakishon by force at this point, but fortunately, the social-fu cleric made a fantastic diplomatic appeal, his DC 30+ Diplomacy check helping to mask the fact that my players just really can't stop themselves from mouthing off to every genie they encounter. On the other hand, Pazhvann just helped slay someone he considered a brother for 25 centuries, and he's not in the mood for more killing. Declaring that he thinks he's making a mistake, Pazvhann tells the PCs that he will return in one month to make a final appeal for the Scroll; hopefully they'll be more amenable to discussion at that point. "Until then, use your time to mourn your dead, as we shall mourn ours." (The Outrider who died was a cousin to the ranger/cavalier, y'see.) Pazvhann plane shifts away, but first he issues a warning, echoing old folktales about the Templars: "Where Pazhvann cannot succeed, my mistress must call upon Davashuum."

(Pazhvann won't return; by the time his deadline arrives, the PCs will have either transitioned into TEoE or Davashuum will have reacted "poorly" to Pazhvann's decision to spare them.)

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It took us a remarkable six sessions (which probably means about 12-18 hours of game time, using a virtual tabletop), but we've completed the Carrion Siege at last! The players came away quite pleased with the slightly boosted version of the encounter I used. They suffered only one casualty (an NPC Outrider whom, in rapid succession, dropped Shiz with an arrow, got slammed right out of his saddle by the ettin, and was then coup de graced by a Carrion Guard), but several PCs and followers were in dire peril at various points, and the players remarked on how they consistently felt challenged, but never unfairly overwhelmed.

The Numbers
PCs' Caravan:
4 7th-level PCs, 2 5th-level cohorts, 2 followers, 2 animal companions, 6 allied NPCs (1 of whom was a drain on party resources), and 10 regular ol' camels (most of which high-tailed it out of there)
Enemies: 37
Interloping Genies: 2
Remaining Daily Resources: Alchemist used all but 1 bomb, sorcerer used all but 1 spell slot, cleric used all of his channeled energy
Encounter Length: 35 rounds from first sighting of the Sons of Carrion to the last one falling in battle
Rounds Spent Actively Engaged in Combat: 18
Pricey Magic Items Expended: 4
Total Loot Recovered: sale value 20,000 gp, weight 720 lbs.

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Jackal Blood was updated in Rival Guide as Jackal Heritage.

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It's a Legacy of Fire miracle! I was certain that the final shipping delay would push this module a month past the point-of-no-return in LoF where I would be able to incorporate it, but now, the...


Sons of Carrion siege

...has taken us a full month to play out! So now (crosses fingers), I expect the module to hit my inbox more-or-less the very day I need to seed it into The Jackal's Price.

TES: I'm looking at using this adventure as a possible means of resolving Haleen's debts in Katapesh. If it works out at all, I'll post conversion notes (bumping it up to 8th level and thoughts on incorporating it into TJP) sooner than later.

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HammerBrother wrote:
Shattered Star assumes that Rise of the Rune lords Curse of the Crimson Throne 2nd Darkness and Legacy of Fire were completed.How many years would that be I was thinking of making a Character that was the Son of my Wife and I's Rise character but i don't know if that can be done any help?

Informally, Shattered Star takes place about 5 years after Rise of the Runelords and about 4 years after Curse of the Crimson Throne and Second Darkness. (Legacy of Fire isn't connected to Shattered Star; different continent.) Might want to ask your GM about the timeline they're using, though.

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I have a player who just started playing a treesinger druid (Advanced Race Guide), and Animal Archive has me thinking quite a bit about the druid's puffball companion. What magic item slots should a spherical creature have?

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eakratz wrote:
Also this is coming out soon. It takes place in Katapesh and can be scaled up I'm sure.

I'm hoping to slot it into "The Jackal's Price" more-or-less the moment it comes out, to be run either concurrently with TJP or just after that story's resolved (but before moving on to the next chapter, for obvious reasons). My intention is to run it for 8th-level PCs and somehow use it to resolve Haleen's bad debts.

At any rate, I'll post 8th-level upscaling notes shortly after it's released.

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