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Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 456 posts. 4 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists.


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You should probably contact customer service, Lisa. Dropping a message in the customer service part of the forum is usually quicker than sending them an email.

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Thanks for the quick reply and replacement! :)

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Hi Paizo!

It's been almost two months, now, and I still haven't received my September subscription package (AP#86 and Undead Unleashed) so I fear it unfortunately got lost somewhere. I did receive my October subscription which was sent a month later, though. Can anything be done about this?

Thanks! :)

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Have you thought about simply keeping them on the Medium experience track instead of the planned Fast track of RotR (or the equivalent if you're not using XP)? That should keep them about one level below requirements after level 3-4 and could well compensate for you having 6 players with a 20-point buy.

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You can run Shattered Star without having ran the other three APs. It helps to flesh the background and the main NPC's motivations, but it's really not an absolute necessity. When I GM'd ShS, we had only ran half of RotR and I roughly explained the outcome of CotCT and SD, keeping it vague enough so that we could play these at some point if we want.

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Well done! How did the final fight against Nyrissa go?

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Let me join the chorus and congratulate you on finishing this campaign! :)

I still hope to run it myself, one day, maybe using Mythic Adventure to convert the final NPCs to Pathfinder… One day… Maybe…

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
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Is the "Strong Life" ability of the spiritualist investigator archetype supposed to be a level 2 ability? Contrary to the usual format, this ability does not have the "At x level,…" phrase.

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Or closing your eyes and fighting blind. One chance in two to hit instead of one in number of images.

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Well done!

How did it go in the last book and encounter? My group and I found it was a little too easy towards the end but we still had a lot of fun throughout. :)

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Well done! It's always quite an achievement to finish an AP, especially Kingmaker! :)

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If I'm to GM this campaign, I would likely only be giving half the planned Mythic tiers so the PCs end the campaign at level 20/tier 5. I would also likely tweak a few feats, like Mythic Power Attack so it's doesn't yield additional damage on a critical hit.

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If the weapon is under the effect of a nondetection, shouldn't this be visible as an illusion aura under detect magic, which someone must have cast to identify the magic weapon? It won't thwart the spell, but it may help your character convince his or her companions that there's something fishy going on.

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It's a table that's in every Bestiary, towards the end of the book. You can also find it on the prd, here

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Well done on finishing the AP! It seems like the final fight was a lot of fun, even if the BBEGs didn't have much of a chance against your powerful PCs. It's great they were able to turn some of the enemies because of what they had learned before!

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Same for me. My subscription items are shipping and this didn't unlock the access to the PDFs.

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I could imagine the final encounter (among others) getting very cramped if you use 5-foot squares. Same thing for the tombs' mummies (E10), or the drake lair E1. Before this, the part of the abbey with the ettins (A15) may also be too tight for them.

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Orthos wrote:
I find it utterly hilarious that this thread is going on at the same time the thread in the Wrath forum is going on about how Mythic makes Wrath way too easy and people are curbstomping their way through every encounter in two or less rounds.

Yep! It just goes to show that Paizo's probably doing about right with the difficulty of their APs.

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Except that you are playing with a group of 5 (or 6?) PCs and 20-point buy, magnuskn, aren't you?

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That looks like a group my players could come up with. Thanks for the info!

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Kevin, could you give us a little more information on your group that finished the AP? Number of players, how experienced they were, point-buy, etc.

It looks like the AP is problematic for large and/or experienced groups, but the GMs of these groups are also the more vocal so it would be good to have more data points.

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All of them for all 3 APs I GM'd to the end so far. That's what raise dead, resurrection, and reincarnation are for!

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voska66 wrote:
I don't see a problem with the Mythic Tiers. I'm currently nearing the end of the Sword of Valor and things are going quite good.

How experienced are your players, Voska? You mention GM'ing multiple APs; is it with the same players?

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I'm thinking of doing this if we play WotR with my group. Basically only giving half the mythic tier and maybe also limiting the mythic stat bonuses to a +1 instead of a +2.

I'm also wondering whether that would be enough to balance the AP for my group of experienced players.

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Alexandros Satorum wrote:
CAn somebody explain how "fame" works? Not sue if I am understand it.

Here are the rules for fame.

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In the Inner Sea Bestiary, the veiled master has the following languages line:

Languages Aboleth, Aklo, Aquan, Azlanti, Undercommon; telepathy 300 ft.

It also has Int 21, so Ongonthunn should have another one. Maybe Common? Except if you'd rather she spoke Thassilonian, which, I think, would make a lot of sense.

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I have to admit to myself that the amount of work required to prepare this AP prevents me from keeping up with the journal.

That said, my players had a first stab at the big event of Act IV and that was quite a fun session.

The 4 PCs got inside the castle as members of the Merry Men, sneakily explored the castle to find the access to the secret tunnel they had uncovered on their first night in town, got caught but bluffed their way out of it, went into town disguised as adventurers to stock up on area of effect scrolls, prepared the room in (now flammable) oiled decoration cloths soaked in perfume, and, as everyone was enjoying the play, they stroke. Two fireballs, one stinking cloud, two stone calls, and one confusion later, maybe half of the castle's soldiers were dead and the villains could escape unhindered, without anyone noticing they used the secret tunnel. Not bad for a first stint.

None of the major NPCs died so far (except for Varning, whom they dealt with on an ambush outside of the castle), but that was a very effective assault on the troops.

Now they'll have to deal with the castle being locked down…

We'll see how it goes from there!

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Impresion I got playing through and reading these threads is that deciding that 1 tier= half a lvl in power was possibly the main problem with it being closer to 1 tier = 1 lvl.

Given this, do people think WotR would be better balanced for an experienced group if the PCs only earned half of the listed mythic tiers? I.e. ending the campaign at level 20/tier 5?

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I played it by the book so the bonuses didn't stack. Either way, it doesn't make much of a difference by this point.

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CNB wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

A well power gamed character can take a few above that. For a well built team, CR=ACL+3 should be relatively easy encounters.
So the designed encounters for the Adventure Paths are useless, then?

No, but it strongly depends on the number of characters, the experience of your players, and the point-buy you allowed. The APs are written assuming 4 PCs, players who have maybe played through another AP, not much more, and a 15-point buy. Any deviation from these will mean more work for you, the GM, to taylor the campaign to your group.

I personally played Shattered Star as written with a group of 4 experienced players with a 15-point buy and it worked very well, if a little rough for the PCs.

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The caster level comes into play when you determine the variables of the spell, not it's DC. For instance, in the case of major image, it means that the range of the spell is 400 + 25*40 = 1400 feet.

If a Shard were to allow you to cast, say, chain lightning (not saying one Shard does this), the damage would be determined by the caster level, resulting in 20d6 of damage, with a range of 1400 feet, and hitting up to 25 secondary targets. That would hurt…

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Yes, that was indeed from Dungeon 119. I actually did check… and then wrote down the wrong number.

MrVergee wrote:
So, you've got your PCs eating goblin now? I hope he at least had some flesh around his bones. Probably tastes like frog legs ... I don't know if you play with minis, but if you do, I can certainly see the appeal of playing this adventure. DND goblins weren't very attractive, but Pathfinder goblins absolutely ROCK! I'd be thrilled just placing the figs in the table ...

I'm French, and I can tell you that frog legs are quite good if they are well seasoned. It may well be the same for goblins! :)

To the PCs' defense, they were hungry and had nothing else to eat…

We don't play with mini, but we play online with Maptool so, yes, everyone gets to see the funky looking goblins. Paizo did a wonderful job rebranding the little buggers.

MrVergee wrote:
Still, it must have been a hell of a fight: your PCs had not found a chance to rest yet, they were ill-equipped and they were already running away from a near-lethal encounter. Again you have three PCs in their negatives, ouch! Fights on the edge are always very exciting, but I bet your players are craving an easy victory by now.

Well, I wanted to make them realize that escaping Branderscar Prison was close to impossible and only they could do it and I don't think the guards would have just let them escape, so I decided to keep the pressure on for this session. I also wanted to convey that evil PCs couldn't expect much help from anyone. It turned out well in the end, even though it was quite a difficult session for the PCs and goblins playing stupid sure helped me not kill a PC (which would have been quite bad for the second session). The players were super-happy that their PCs were able to rest at the end of this session and recover their abilities!

I'm known to GM difficult games and I guess these two sessions show that. As for easy victories, they may have to wait until the next session, because session 3, played entirely by the book, was also quite difficult (although no one fell unconscious).

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The following contains spoilers for Unfamiliar Grounds by Christopher West and published in Dungeon 121.

Ale-marinated goblin

Rova 23, 4714 AR — The Moor


Through my scrying pool, I saw them temper the portcullis mechanism and rush down the road to the village. The guards and their dogs weren't far behind, but the blocked portcullis gave the villains a few precious minutes. Beyond a curve, they removed their prisonner's rags and forcefully convinced the hostage to wear them and carry on towards the village. Maybe that would distract the dogs. Using the veil one final time, they conjured up some more mundane clothes that they swiftly covered in mud before wearing. The scheme did worked, at least for a time, and it is with a significant headway that the prisoners escaped on the moor. Sadly for them, they had little idea of the direction they needed to follow and, with the distant barking of dogs indicating that they were hunted, the villains focused most of their efforts on crossing streams and large puddles. If they benefited from the moonless night, the slowly rising mist made it utterly impossible to use the stars for guidance. The group fumbled and tumbled on the moor for quite some time.

I wanted to see how they fared and, Father, you say they are supposed to be champions, but, really, they did not behave or look as such. So I only contacted them when the guards got a little too close to them. I was invisible, of course, and it took some convincing, but I could persuade them to strike a deal with me: I would indicate them the direction to the natural caves next to my lair, a perfect hiding place for them, if they were to get rid of the green pests (goblins, as they call them) that currently lived there. I think they realized that I was an imp, which saddened be. Why couldn't I trick them longer? It was fun when I was just a voice in the night. I might have pouted. Of course, I didn't tell them that I was bound by the stupid Neegla. I wasn't allowed to and it was more fun like this anyway!

The villains easily found the entrance to the cave, beyond a small lake they swam through to muddle their tracks. Despite sneaking close to the entrance, they were spotted by the goblin sentinel who raised the alarm inside the lair. But goblins are dumb, and only a small group of them jumped on the villains when they snuck in. They were pathetic. That said, so were the "champions." Swinging their sword to slice through thin air, stabbing at nothingness. The witch was mildly efficient with your hexes, putting the goblins to sleep. I know they were tired, had escaped Branderscar, and, yes, fine, the hunter, Mordrick, did skewer a goblin with one swift stroke of his longword, but still, Father, I wasn't impressed. On the other hand, the goblins were even worse. Gah! I hate these pests! So the villains slowly made their way through the tunnels and caves, eventually dealing with two small groups of defenders until they reached the main cave.

There, Neegla, pathetic little thing, attempted to organize the rest of the tribe, but giving strategic orders to goblins is like flying in a blizzard: it's cold and it doesn't work. In the end, she conjured a magical mist to block the advance of the villains and all the goblins scattered around. Neegla fled to my tower — or at least its basement since that's all that's left of it now — through the tunnels the goblins had opened from the caves. In my lair… Well, the former tower of my former necromantic master, but since he has been dead for more than a century, the tower belongs to me! So, in my lair, she forced me to do unsavory things: to get invisible and to wait for the villains to destroy them with my powerful magic. Oh, Father, why did you let this pitiful creature bind me?

The other goblins? Well, one of them attempted to follow Neegla, their leader, but fell to the skeletons that guarded the entrance of the tower's basement. Only myself and Neegla can go past them unharmed, stupid pest! Didn't you know that? Now you do! The other two goblins, the villains hunted down as they explored the other parts of the natural caves, including what they thought was a very nice underground lake. Eventually, as they hadn't found the goblin caster, Neegla, and because they were still bound by our deal, they came into the basement of the tower to track her down. My skeletons defended themselves valiantly, but they were soon destroyed by the villains, who entered my lair. Neegla was there, and so was I, invisible. Snapper, the skeleton of an ogre I had animated (because I'm powerful!) slowly rose from the scrying pool in the middle of the chamber. I couldn't tell it to stop! It was going to wreck my whole plan if it killed the villains!

At first, the "champions" thought I had tricked them into an ambush, but when they realized I was using my very powerful magic against them in a suboptimal way, they realized that I was bound to act against them as long as the goblin spellcaster stood. As Chrism dashed for Neegla, Chloé, Mordrick, and Æthelflæd tried to contend with Snapper. Hmmm, well, it did not go so well for them. It must have hurt, actually. Chloé was the first to fall to the one remaining claw of the ogre skeleton. Given the amount of blood, she can't have been very far from dying. Then Chrism fell to Neegla, but not before she could rip the goblin adept with her claws. And finally Mordrick fell to the goblin too, as he was charging her. But luckily for him, that put too much strain on my hateful master and she collapsed too! Only Æthelflæd was still standing, in front of the skeleton that was twice her size. Whenever I had cast my potent magic against the villains, as I was bound to do, I had made sure to get Snapper in the way (poor Snapper!), but he was still standing tall, towering over the witch and her measly little torch. And this stupid Snapper that just wouldn't listen to me!

In the end, the witch who saved the villains. She hit Snapper with the torch one last time and he collapsed, all bones and dust. Æthelflæd quickly jumped on Neegla and strangled her. I was free! Free! Father, FREE! FREEEEE! Hum… So, yes, okay Father, maybe these champions of yours are not as pathetic as they first appeared to me. Maybe there is potential in them.

The villains spent the night in the cave and, with my scrying pool, we could see the Branderscar guards missing the camouflaged entrance to the cave and aimlessly pursuing the escapees in the wrong direction. They were finally safe. The pool also revealed to them the path to the manor, maybe an hour away to the north-west. The villains found a bottle of fine elven wine among the goblins' treasures and joyfully opened it to celebrate their escape. They were hungry, too, so Chrism started to marinate Neegla in the good ale of a keg they had found next to the wine. A few herbs, a handful of potatoes, a deep pit of fire and embers, and on the barbecue went the goblin! Goblins are not as flavorful and tasty as babies, but the marinade did miracles to quench the stench. Oh, and the fact that Neegla was incredibly clean for a goblin certainly did help too! Everyone should get to eat their master marinated and barbecued. It's such a fulfilling joy…

The villains spent all of the next day sleeping, resting, bathing in the underground lake to remove the grime of the prison and, overall, revelling in their newly found freedom. When the sun set and night fell, we all five cautiously moved outside and made our way to the manor. I, Hezzrack, squire of Dis, was finally free, and so were they.

Largest amount of damage taken from an attack: 10 (the ogre skeleton skewering Chloé with his claw)
Largest amount of damage taken from an effect: 4 (Hezzrack, hitting Æthelflæd with his fire jet ability)
Largest amount of damage dealt with an attack: 21 (Mordrick, killing a sleeping goblin with a coup de grâce)
Largest amount of damage dealt with an effect: none.

• Chloé, falling to the ogre skeleton (–8)
• Chrism, hit by Neegla's magical pick (–1)
• Mordrick, also hit by Neegla's pick (–2)

"Is this rosemary sauce?"

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A DC 25 Sense Motive check should tell the PCs that she is under the influence of compulsion magic (p. 104 of the CRB).

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When we played it, the PCs were from anywhere (Qadira, Ustalav, Varisia, and Magnimar itself), but had gone to Absalom for their training as Pathfinders before decided to live in Magnimar. When the AP starts, they have only recently made it to the City of Monument (for one of the reasons listed in the campaign traits). As prospective Pathfinders the local venture-captain can decide to assign them to a task as she sees fit. That way, they are tied to the Pathfinder Society, but Sheila hasn't necessarily called on them before.

Mind you, one of my PCs already knew Sheila and even considered her as the mother she wished she had had. That works great too, as long as the PC hasn't worked for Sheila before.

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From my experience, APs work with any group composition… as long as the GM is ready to tweak a few things here and there. The AP usually does a good job at presenting workarounds when the easiest solution forward is to cast a spell.

For instance,:
opening the portal to Leng in chapter 5.

Healing and restoration spells may be problematic for your group, so I'd make sure to sprinkle potions/scrolls/wands of cure restoration spells throughout the campaign. I'd also gently push the PCs towards taking UMD so they can use these.

It should represent little work for you and I think it's much better than forcing a player to play something else than what they intend on playing.

The lack of a full arcane caster will actually make it easier in quite a few places since there's a lot of

constructs and golems
in this AP, and wizard/sorcerers tend to suck against these!

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They are all LE, which is somewhat of a requirement in this campaign, even though NE, N, and LN is also a possibility . That said, the difference PCs tend to follow different sets of laws (the rules from their sect, the rules of Hell, etc).

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MrVergee wrote:

Hi Olwen

A very exciting opening session, very lethal as well. It'll be interesting to learn how this AP goes. I wish you happy gaming.

Thanks MrVergee! It was pretty lethal indeed and session 2 wasn't any better. My take on it is that it's supposed to be hard to escape the prison, otherwise they wouldn't be the first one to escape. It's a fine balance, though… Things are now somewhat easier now.

carborundum wrote:
Dramatic stuff! Great fun already :-)

Thanks! It's always great to know we have some readers. :)

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Moonbeam wrote:
Interesting, it's strange to find the players playing such different characters than the ones from Shattered Star. I don't have the Way of the Wicked campaign, so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to follow the adventure, though.

I'll be writing the journal in the hope that it's understandable by someone who doesn't know the AP, but I know what you mean. It's harder to get a feeling for what is happening without knowing what is supposed to happen…

That said, the way it's going, I'm adding quite a lot of external material to transpose the campaign to Golarion and to fill a few gaps here and there, especially at low levels. It's fun because it allows me to shape the campaign to my own liking, something I don't do too often nowadays with the Paizo APs that are so well crafted. This AP is good, but not up to the stellar Paizo standards, so I find it needs some tweaking.

Moonbeam wrote:
How is it going, so far, playing an evil group?

It's been quite fun so far (we just finished session 3 less than an hour ago). It's a little odd, though, because I am still somewhat taken aback when my PCs decide to do evil things to overcome a difficulty. What they did with the servant during the first session was a good example of this. She's just a tool for them. And that was fun for me too, because I'm the one who ended up with the conundrum of the LG guards: shoot the prisoners but kill the servant in the process, or not. The corrupted CN sergeant didn't have such qualms…

The funniest thing is that, maybe for the first time, the PCs don't get the loot to necessarily sell it. Some fine elven wine? Let's drink it and celebrate our success! A keg of good ale? Let's use it to marinate the goblin! (Yeah, long story from session 2…)

Overall, it's a nice change since it means we're all out of our normal comfort zone. Compared to my impression when I read the modules, I'm more optimistic that we can make it work for 1+ year in real life time without getting bored.

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My group and I started Way of the Wicked recently and we're keeping a journal on this forum.

The campaign is taking place in Golarion, in Lastwall to be accurate, so I'm changing a few things and adding a bit of material when necessary. But I'm staying as close to the written material as possible.

It's been very hairy for the villains but quite fun for the moment!

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Escaping Branderscar Prison

Rova 23, 4714 AR — Branderscar Prison


I witnessed the escape of the chosen ones from certain death at the hands of the Iomedans of Lastwall.

It had only been hours since the four of them arrived in Branderscar prison, but what an ordeal. The warden had not graced the villains with his presence but Sergeant Royster Blackerly, the pot-bellied man who effectively ran the prison, had more than compensated for it by personally branding them soon after their arrival. A runic F that stood for Forsaken marked them for life. If Æthelflæd, Chloé, and Mordrick were branded on the foreman, as is customary, Chrism was burnt on the cheek, just below the left eye. Was the sergeant clumsy? Did Chrism move at the wrong moment? Was it because she was Chelaxian? It matters not for what was done was done. They are all scarred for life and will always be considered traitors in Lastwall.

The cell was only lit by a couple of sputtering torches, fighting to repel the dark shadows around. The four villains were sprawled, motionless, in the same cell, their feet attached to a long chain, and their hands manacled to the wall above their head. Where were they? Above ground? Below ground? They could not remember much of what had happened after their branding, lost as they were in the confusion of pain and hatred. It was obvious, however, that there was no way out of this cell and that their punishment would come swiftly, in less than three days, when some official would grace them with his presence to preside over their demise.

The sergeant who had taken so much pleasure in branding them entered the cell block, accompanied by half a dozen guards ready for trouble. "Get that scum unchained," he barked, pointing at Chrism. "How you warrant the visit of such a fine lady is beyond me." The diva was rapidly freed from her chains under the watchful eyes of their jailers and brought to the guard room at the entrance of the level, at the top of a flight of stairs. There, a beautiful woman awaited, her hair so platinum they were almost white, her eyes emerald green. Behind her veil, it was obvious tears had flowed down her cheeks. "Oh sweetest!" she exclaimed when she saw Chrism, "I cannot bear the sight of you like this. Good sergeant, could we please have our last moment alone, for pity's sake?" Apparently dazed, the man in arms did not react at first, but soon added in a droning voice "Yes, yes, of course ma'am." Chrism, always the manipulator of minds, realized that he was most certainly charmed in one way or another.

As soon as the sergeant left, the woman's attitude changed entirely. "What? You don't remember me, sweetest?" she ask sarcastically. "Call me Tiadora." She then explained that a friend of the prisoners awaited them outside, in a manor over the moor, and that the prisoners had three days to escape. "This will help you remember me, sweetest," she added, sliding her veil under Chrisms rags. When the woman's hand touched Chrism's chest, it was icy cold and electrifying. The Chelaxian understood in an instant that the veil had magical properties and held items that would help them escape. When the sergeant entered the room again, Tiadora went on with her charade: "Oh sweetest! How I hurt to be parted from you!" and she kissed Chrism on the cheek. Once again, her touch was as cold as the northern ice. The woman's voice echoed in Chrism's mind one last time: "Three days. Don't disappoint."

Back in the cell with her companions in misfortune, the Chelaxian quickly explained the situation and all four villains decided they should attempt their escape as soon as possible, before the guard changed. As they were debating strategy, the hot-headed young girl and would-be assassin, Chloé, freed herself of her manacles without difficulty, and without tools either. Those long narrow fingers sure are agile! She moved on to work on the other prisoners' shackles, this time with picks generated from the veil, and the villains were soon outside their cell. They had been very quiet. Chrism generated a couple of daggers from the veil, which Mordrick and Chloé, the two most competent with weapons, claimed. Chrism readied her long nails, while Æthelflæd stood in the back, reciting her curses. Something big moved in the sturdiest, walled cell of the level, but the villains first decided to take care of the two guards who watched over them in the nearby room. Blending in shadows, the companions jumped them by surprise. The two men fought bravely, with their swords, shields, and armors, yet they soon lied in puddles of their own blood and their swords, shields, and armors now belonged to the villains who quickly equipped themselves. Freedom was still a long way, but they had successfully taken the first step towards their escape.

The massive prisoner who was detained with them in the walled cell turned out to be an ogre, Grumbles, who accepted to join them for the opportunity to smash a few skulls. The group pondered whether they should climb down a large chimney, but the presence of a fire below decided them to make their way down the stairs. Scouting ahead, Chloé blended in shadows and, after a door, reached a torch-lit long corridor in which a lonely guard was whiling away his time. Still silent behind the door, the villains hid while Chrism manipulated magic to make herself resemble one of the guards they had just killed and advanced in the corridor. If she could take the guard by surprise… And she did, but failed to slice his throat in an instant. Soon, all the villains jumped in the corridor in unison, accompanied byan overjoyed Grumbles. Had they been able to silence the lonely man quickly, they would have masterfully escaped the prison, but they did not know each other well, their actions stymied each others in the fight, they kept getting in each other's way, their tactics were poor, and the guard was finally able to grab the horn at his belt and blow the alarm signal. Things went to Hell from there. [So appropriate an expression! Hihi!]

Three more guards soon emerged from a side door. Although they wore no armor, they still did not intend on letting enemies of Lastwall escape. One guard fell in the confused melee, then another, but so did Grumbles, the massive ogre. Through a set of double doors at the end of the corridor, Chrism was the first to once again feel fresh air of a dark, moonless night on her face. Men and women were running in the prison's courtyard. Guards stood, alert, on the battlements. Dogs were barking. Servants were scattering around. The Chelaxian, still disguised as a guard, ran to one of the servants, a pathetic girl named Myrtle, and convinced her to accompany her away from danger. The two rushed towards one of the towers whose stairs reached the battlements. In the meantime, the other villains dealt with the third guard. Swords were not Mordric's forte, but he sure new where to hit the pitiful humans to maximize the pain. Always in the shadows, Chloé used the Baron as a distractions, cunningly puncturing the back of the guards who would fight him. Æthelflæd, in the back, curses and hexed the jailers, who stumbled and fumbled, or even fell asleep for a few critical seconds. The last guard fled to warn the rest of Branderscar. It was time to run, and fast. They rushed after Chrism.

The whole prison was now on alert as the villains all ran towards the tower. If only they could reach the battlements, they could maybe jump over them! A guard soon blocked their entrance to the tower while others were closing in and the dogs were being gathered in the kennels. Mordrick tangled with the guard, helped by Chloé. Benefiting from the distraction, Chrism and the servant dived inside the tower and climbed the stairs to the battlement. Struggling for an opening, Æthelflæd cursed the guard to sleep, but he resisted and the guards with dogs soon caught up with her. When the Chelaxian reached the parapet, she realized the prison stood on a rocky promontory, an island in the middle of a powerful river. Further away, there was a bridge to the land, but diving from where she stood would be suicide. In the courtyard, the witch fell unconscious, bit by one of the rabbid dogs and, as Chloé had dashed after Chrism, Mordrick was now facing the opposition of three guards and their dogs. It seemed there was no escape for him or Æthelflæd…

Whirling around on her heels, Chrism held the servant at the edge of the parapet and, mustering all the theatrical training she could to bolster her voice, she addressed the many guards around: "Lower your weapons, call back the dogs or she dies!" The servant screamed at the unexpected. The guards gripped the hilt of their swords with hatred, but they obeyed as they valued Myrtle's life. Mordrick did not wait for the situation to evolve again; he grabbed the unconscious body of the witch and climbed the stairs to the battlement. There, a curing potion generated from the magical veil brought Æthelflæd back to consciousness. Chrism also conjured a hempen rope, which Mordrick attached to the parapet and tossed over the wall. It almost reached the rocks below, next to the foaming, dark waters of the river. And still the guards did not move any closer for fear of endangering the hostage's life. Freedom was there, a few hundred feet away, on the other side of the bridge they could reach from the rocks!

Above the battlement, sergeant Blackerly appear on the roof of the gatehouse, fuming, accompanied by a group of guards. I had seen in my pool that he was playing his usual game of cards in a forgotten room of the gate house, drinking with his underlings. Without him and his pitiful behavior, there is no doubt escaping the prison would have been impossible. So he rushed, enraged and late on the roof, cursing at the villains who had started to climb down the rope. He did not have the qualms of the other guards and screaming for them to stop the prisoners, he grabbed a bow, cocked an arrow… and stopped. "No, no, you don't want to do this; really, you don't…" Chrism was saying in a soothing voice, a fascinating voice in which she had woven her compelling magic. He would not recover his mind for almost a minute, which gave the villains enough times to reach the rocks below.

The river's current was too strong, so the escapees ran on the rock and then climbed along the prison's wall when the rocks disappeared. The guards still did not dare shoot arrows at them for fear of hurting the hostage servant that Mordrick was now carrying on his back, the sergeant was still fascinated but, in their precipitation, Chloé and Æthelflæd fell in the water. Mordrick lost precious seconds helping them and, already, Chrism was running towards the bridge. Her magic exhausted, Blackerly screamed more insanities and started shooting at the prisoners below. Chloé took an arrow and fell. Mordrick tossed her frail body on his back, next to the trembling servant who must have been wondering when this nightmare would end. Next, Æthelflæd fell to an arrow from the sergeant, just as she summoned a magical mount. She fell on the conjured steed who carried her down to the bridge. The guards who had waited on the battlement rushed to the gate of the prison to run after the escaping prisoners. Only a small guardhouse and its guard now stood in the villains' path to freedom! Arrows were flying above Mordrick as, breathing heavily, he strived to catch up with Chrism and stay ahead of the numerous guards and their dogs.

The Chelaxian was quite a way ahead and she was already reaching the guardhouse. Still disguised as one of the guards, she bluffed the last sentry into believing that she was one of them! "Open the portcullis! They are just behind me! We'll defend the sentinel post together!" Oblivious to the lie, the guard jumped on a lever to open the way out of the prison. Chrism dashed forth, entered the small building, and pounced on the astonished man. Her nails swiftly found his throat and she dug deep. She grabbed what she could from the guard, as well as a few potions labeled "healing" and stored on a shelf. Before she left, the Chelaxian carved her name on the dead man's face. They would pay for having branded her face.

Seconds later, a huffing and puffing Mordrick passed the portcullis, the servant and Chloé on his back. Æthelflæd's magical mount was following just behind and Chrism sent the portcullis crashing down. Mordrick forcefully convinced their hostage to keep at bay the barking dog attached to the sentinel post. In the meantime, the assassin and the witch were revived with the potions and they all took a few seconds to decide on their immediate future, for if they had escaped Branderscar prison, its guards were rushing down the bridge with their dogs. Even if the villains bolted on the moor in the tenebrous night, they would only have an advance of a mere few minutes. They needed to think and come up with a sensible plan. Fast!

Largest amount of damage taken from an attack: 8 (Mordrick, hit a by one of the guards with a longsword)
Largest amount of damage taken from an effect: none.
Largest amount of damage dealt with an attack: 14 (Chrism, killing a guard with her claws on a critical hit)
Largest amount of damage dealt with an effect: none.

• Æthelflæd, bitting by one of the guard dogs (–1)
• Chloé, shot by one of Royster Blackerly's arrows (–3)
• Æthelflæd, falling unconscious from the strain of casting mount at 0 hit points (–1)

"She heard our plans."
"Well, that's just unfortunate…"

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I don't know about Ardathanatus, because he's supposed to have spent the last months (years?) gathering an army of giants and feys to take over the Windsong Abbey.

I think I'd change the cleric of Desna who hides in the Windsong Abbey into your NPC. That way it's directly the PCs who try to save him because they already know him, as opposed to Koria (who fails and gets transformed into stone). Mind you I think it's difficult to have him know about the shards, though.

Another option is to have this NPC be part of the group of Gray Maidens who enter the Lady's Light. The NPC would be an antagonist in this case, but likely a charmed antagonist, which would increase the tension even further!

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Separating Xin's and the clockwork's initiative is a very neat idea. I wish I had thought of it…

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Chloé is played by the player who played Draco in our Shattered Star campaign.
Chrism is played by Viv's player.
Æthelflæd is played by Nasim's player (Gods! Is that name annoying to type!).
Mordrick is played by Laslo's player.
And I'm the GM, as usual.

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I started our Way of the Wicked campaign journal. I've only presented the PCs for the moment, but more will soon follow. We had the first session last week and it was particularly tense!

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Four improbable companions.


They were chosen well. The most improbable companions teaming together to overcome overwhelming odds against their very survival.

The nimble would-be assassin; a girl, really, her lithe body not yet completely deformed by puberty. Cast as an outsider from her sect of shadow walkers because she dared steal from one of her marks instead of merely killing him, Chloé discovered the hard way that she did not wield the talents required to escape the Iomedan inquisitors of Lastwall tasked with tracking her down. Hunted down then captured in the northern reaches of the Fangwood Forest, she was charged with murder and fraud and the swift justice of Lastwall soon sent her on her way to Branderscar. She was to survive, though, to later be sent to the salt mines… and die there.
Chloé is a human rogue (knife master) going for the assassin prestige class.

The proud and manipulative diva; petite, but with a voice so powerful that it can move, hurt, fascinate her audience. Maybe it is this strangeness in her stemming from her improbable mother… So proud was Chrism, and so sure of her talents that she could not understand that Lastwall is not Cheliax, despite the invitation her Egorian troop had received to tour the shores of Lake Encarthan and play at Castle Everstand. One does not kill a servant boy because he brings cold coffee. That simply wouldn't do for the Lastwallians and it is the commander of Castle Everstand, Captain Thaum Gauntwood, who arrested her himself. The punishment was clear: beheading, to be conducted at Branderscar. And it would not come too soon for the Lastwallians.
Chrism Rosewood is a changeling bard (Chelish diva).

The dark witch; tall, brooding, consorting with dark powers beyond her purview. Æthelflæd… She's an interesting one, this one, talking to her pet scorpion and channeling dark powers through it. But which powers? The horrors from beyond space as she liked to pretend when she worked with this ragtag band of brigands preying on the roads between Ustalav and Lastwall? Or something else much more powerful and respectable? Either way, it did not help her when the bandits angered Lastwall enough that they a detachment of Knights of Ozem, led by the promising upstart Tholton Firrine. Captured with the others, she was the only one deemed sufficiently evil and dangerous to be sent to Branderscar to be hanged.
Æthelflæd Fhintain is a human witch with the Trickery patron.

The hunter; the "baron," he calls himself, despite his lack of noble titles and his bastard ascendancy, half human, half elven. But Mordrick has qualities for sure, not to hunt game, but to hunt humans. And he enjoys the hunt thoroughly. Too thoroughly, it seems, since it led him to kill his latest quarry in the very cathedral of the Inheritor in Vigil, where it had ran for protection. Ha! The sight of all these paladins and clerics of the upstart god witnessing a murder in their most holy site. What a scene it must have been! Sure, Mordrick benefitted from everyone's bewilderment to flee, but he did not flee for very long since, less than two days later, Marthas Harkon and his group of proud knights and priests of Iomedae brought the murderer back to the capital in chains, to be judged. Justice came swift, and the "baron" later arrived to Branderscar to be punished for desecration. The pyre would burn bright.
Mordrick Viscerian Baxter is a half-elf ranger (spirit ranger) with human as favored enemy and going for a two-weapon fighting specialty.

Yet none of the four would be punished. A little nudge at the door, as they say, and they would prove that they had what it takes. But will it be enough?

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Wow, that must have been fun with the giants. The barbarian's player must have had a blast!

What happened with the medusa? Did you charm her so she would bring you all the way down?

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leo1925 wrote:
So you have told us about book 6, what would you change in books 4 and 5 in order to make things better? (both on encounters and maybe in the story)

It's a little difficult for me to say much about book 4 since my PCs skipped the top floor, as well as the first two underground levels when they entered through the sea drake cave. That meant they were a level behind for the lower levels of the Groetus temple, but I liked it. I'd make sure to have the gongorinan qlippoths surprise the group at least once; that was fun for me to play. Otherwise I'd keep things as they are.

It's more or less the same thing in book 5. It worked very well as written. You should be aware that the PCs will likely never find the drows, or most of the encounters in the Core. It seems obvious that the thing to do is to follow the ruins of the bridge and, once in the ruins, to explore them, which leads to the discovery of the illusion-protected shaft that leads to the Embassy.

If I were to play the campaign again, the one thing I might develop in book 5 is the political strife between giants. As it stands, it's just General Stom sending the group to do her dirty work but it could add more tension to have some of the giants of the underground level turn against Chief Jubbek for one big massive, level-wide fight of giants against giants with the PCs in the middle.

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"Here there be random encounters..." Nice! :)
Been upset at what the GM has been rolling, encounter-wise?

Did you decide to become a pirate captain on your own, or was that a nudge from the GM?

Cool stuff, as always!

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Kyrademon wrote:
Buri wrote:
A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion.

My explanation for this kind of thing is that there actually aren't that many monsters in the world higher than CR 3 or so. It's just that the PCs happen to run into every single one of them in a short time and limited area because they are Destined Heroes.

It's the same reason every village isn't run by a group of 20th level adventurers in an impregnable castle with their rule challenged by another group of 20th level adventurers from the next village over. 99.99999% of people who decide to go "adventuring" die at first level, killed by a goblin. You just happen to be playing the ridiculous outlier who isn't (well, most of the time, early TPKs aside.)

Yep, that's also what I think PCs are.

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