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Young Master

Phillip Steele's page

18 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


So you've defeated Dragotha, you've defeated Kyuss.

How did it go, did you need to modify the encounter to make it challenging or did you run it as written ? What worked what didn't ?

To kick this off here's a run through of my group's encounter with Dragotha last night.


The characters:

Human Paladin
Dwarven Rogue
Assimar Sorceror
Wild Elf Spirit Shaman
Dwarven Cleric

All at level 19 for the final session.

After breaching the doors of the tabernacle thanks to a disintegrate spell the group entered to be confronted by 6 Avolaki priests. The rogue succummbed to the promise of a slap up meal and disappeared through a door into a MMM.

The rest of the group were not quite so susceptible to their suggestions and battle ensued. The sorceror started off with a prismatic spray which turned one to stone but merely injured the others. The shaman and cleric let loose with various high level area effect spells, the Paladin began chopping an avolaki to pieces.

The avolaki let rip with slay living, flame strikes and wall of stones. With 1 avolaki out and 1 badly injured I had Mahudril show up. She lashed out with finger of death whilst the sorceror turned into a red dragon and breathed on some more avolaki. Meanwhile the paladin finished off the avolaki and the shaman and cleric rained more pain down from the heavens whilst a previously summoned earth elemental knocked down the walls.

2 rounds later it was all over. Of the death effects only 1 succeeded but I hinted to the player that he could feel his life force draining out and allowed him to spend a fate point to reroll which he succeeded.

The players then proceeded through to the Wormdragon. Whilst the dragon dealt some damage with it's initial breath weapn it found itself limited in the amount of damage it could deal before it went down. Particularly with a dwarven rogue standing on it's back smacking sneak attack damage home with 2 holy undead bane weapons.

Next up were the nightrawlers which went down with 1 sunburst spell when they all failed their reflex rolls.

By now I was thinking that the final encounter was going to be a whitewash.

However I decided to run the encounter as written and play it by ear if it looked too easy.

The encounter started with the 2 breath weapons hitting, some of the characters had protection up but it still took the sorceror and shaman down to periously low figures.

The paladin moved in to start a combination of smite attacks but was hampered by the very high AC (58), even with the Balakarde soul fragment(+20 attack) she was only hitting once a round and that was with no power attack.

The sorceror had more success with disintigrate though only did max damage on 1 of the 3 he fired.

The rogue dealt with Venk and Grazzilfex in fairly short order whilst the shaman and cleric hit with ranged spells with very mixed results and peformed some healing.

It looked for a couple of rounds like it was going to be a TPK, Dragotha forcecaged the paladin (who was released the next round thanks to a disintigration spell). He full meleed the paladin for 339 points of damage which killed the paladin but was promptly brought back from the dead by the spirit shaman who prevented her soul from leaving whilst the cleric cast mass heal and damaged Dragotha in the process.

Dragotha by this point down 600 hp decided to focus on the spell casters and cast the Withering spell (forget the exact name) which threated the casters but not too badly thanks to the previous heals. Another round and another 200+ points of damage delivered by the characters things were looking bleak for Dragotha with just 12hp left. Fortunately his action was next after the Sorceror, and his breath weapon was ready again and he could cast harm on himself and Dragotha had just made his save against another disintegration from the sorceror, one that dealt 19 points of damage !!!

So finally after about 5 rounds of play Dragotha fell.

I think it is fair to say that the players felt sufficiently challenged and in awe, especially when I put my colosaal Red Dragon mini on the table, that they'd not seen before !

Personally I expected more character deaths (not that I wanted them, you understand :-> ). If I wanted to push the characters harder I would make more use of his withering spell and leave the forcecages for people who could prove they can deliver lots of melee damage.

Also I would have mirror image up in the first round, that would have negated lots of the disintigrates.

Finally and this is a fudge, I would address his spell resistance of 33 which frankly was rather low for characters of this level, especially considering that one had a +20 to spell resistance checks.

It does make me wonder though if Kyuss will be a push over. The characters are going to be given some high powered toys to use. I will need to read the Kyuss scenario very carefully.

Now I know that the FR universe is not open content, but I loved the support given for the Age Of Worms for the FR universe. For me one of the most enjoyable things was not throwing dragons, giants etc.. at the players (though that was fun) but integrating the back story with the Realms lore.

The backstory for the Realms was terrific, it actually placed a bigger bad guy above Kyuss, though the players will probably never meet him. What made it even better was the way that the Ebon Triad linked in with 3 of the core gods of the FR world.

Anyway, I could rave for a long time about how much I liked the mixing of FR lore and a generic adventure path to make it truely something unique.

Now I don't expect Paizo to produce similar material in the future as no doubt there will be legal issues. The question is though will the Pathfinder universe be generic enough to allow players to superimpose it on to their own favourite universe, FR, Ebberon etc... ?

If it is then I'm sure the FR fans out there will come together to form a backstory.

Here's one for you.

Normally you are immune to a Kyuss worm if you have 5 or more points of natural armour. However this immunity is normally mentioned in the description of the ability that allows a creature to infest the player.

There are however a number of abilities/encounters (particularly in the Tabernacle of Worms) that imply a player gets infested if they miss a reflex roll etc... I.e. Being swallowed by an Overworm, attacking with light weapons etc...

Does this still apply if they natural armour of 5 or more ?


I'm not convinced I did this right either.

Looks like I might have got 2 subscriptions as well. In which case I only need 1.

The plan was to move my current Dungeon subscription across to Pathfinder and become a charter member for Patherfinder.

ElvenLust wrote:
But who should I use as the base aspect?

Easiest thing here is just don't change it. You may need to change the spiritual weapon to something appropriate for the god that grants that power, otherwise you can run it exactly as written. You'll probably find the PCs will be too busy trying to stay alive than worry too much about anything else.

Thanks for the reply. I've sent a response via email. The auto-reply feature is certainly a step in the right direction.



Thanks for the kind words guys. Still no word, but the time difference and the weekend could have something to do with that. My wife actually got the subscription (as a birthday gift) and as far as I know she went via this website.


Hi, I got a Dungeon subscription back in November 2005. According to your website I should have received the issue in the early part of Jan 2006. I'm still waiting for that issue and now it looks like I'm overdue issue 132 as well.

Can someone please help. I've sent a couple of emails to customer service but received no reply.

On a 2nd point, I know you will undoubtedly be busy, but your customer service would be much better if you could respond to customer emails within a couple of days of receiving them. Even if it is just an acknowledgement to let us know that the matter is in hand.


Phillip Steele

Darkbringer wrote:
I would love to hear some ideas.

First off you might want to blur the lines between psionics and magic. Most normal people don't really appreciate the difference between Sorcerers, Wizards and Psions. Members of the other Psionic classes could just as easily be using a magic effect as far as the average Joe is concerned.

One aspect of this is to all Knowledge (Psionics) skill checks equally apply to Knowledge (Arcane) skill checks.

One thing to be careful of is not to change every other bad guy your PCs encounter into a psi-wielding character, although if psionics is more predominante in your world then maybe that is more appropriate.

A final point to bear in mind is the balance factor. A previous poster made the comparison of a Wizard to a Psion. Both characters have an equivalent amount of power but the Psion can use it so much more quickly in a single encounter. An analogy of garden hose compared to fire hose was used to describe the speed with which power can be delivered, it's just that Psion uses their reserves up more quickly.

I personally would leave the Faceless One as is, but he could certainly be changed with little effect.

The main change I would make is to make the Mindflayer in "The Hall of Harsh Reflections" a psion (see a previous thread).

If you haven't already gone past the encounter I would make the Tiefling fighters Psionic Warriors. I'm sure we will encounter more Tieflings as part of the Ebon Triad further into the campaign and I see these as being part of a bigger psionic warrior order.

Finally I would introduce a Psionicially enabled war band into the Champions Belt.

I haven't read much further than this so I'm not able to offer any additional advice.


Tallknight1974 wrote:

You could set the stage such that in the adventure "the sprie of long shadows", that when the elves erected the obsidian ring to keep the followers of Kyuss inside and what not in was also a wellspring of the worlds incarnum (and hence why he choose that particaluar spot) once they more or less finish that adventure and end up destroying the zigurat it also weakens the obsidian ring enough that the incarnum is released into the world....

just an idea


Sounds good, I'll have to read that adventure and see how that would work.

The main idea I'm kicking around at the moment is to have Kyuss (or whatever his equivalent in the FR conversion will be) be a powerful necronate who managed to control the flow of all Incarnum into the world before he was bound into the monolith.

He achieved this by controlling the Wellspring, which as you suggest could be based at the Spire of Long Shadows. This also raises the possibility of an alternative source for the green worms. They could be corrupted shards of Incarnum that were released into the world before the elves constructed their Obsidian ward.

By extension of this idea the only Incarnum that can currently flow into the world is the evil type represented by the green worms. This would allow me to foreshadow the arrival of Incarnum for the masses (so to speak) by changing some of the NPCs the characters will face in the lead up to that adventure so that they make use of the worm available Incarnum.

Possibly the Tiefling in the Champions Belt would make a good choice.


I just got a copy of this book and yes I think it's cool and yes I hope to use it soon.

My issue is that I'm not keen on just assuming that Incarnum has already been around. Instead I would rather see Incarnum introduced into the setting as a result of something the PCs are involved with.

Now while the MoI book has some suggestions for this I'd keen to somehow incorporate it into the AoW campaign. For example, using a similar suggestion from MoI, maybe Kyuss somehow blocked off the original wellspring of Incarnum when he peformed a necromatic rite. This wellspring could be unblocked by the characters as part of an existing AoW adenture.

I've got some thoughts on using the Champions Belt module to achieve this but am interested to hear what other people suggest.

For background my PCs are 1/2 through the Blackwall Keep adventure and the game is based in Forgotten Realms.



Eric Boyd wrote:

So, now that the Dungeon #127 online supplement is up, ...


Just read what you did with the Ixaxian on this. Quite a work of genius, I guessed the Unseen would make it into the adventure but I couldn't see how Zyrxog would fit in.

Here's how I intend to handle the Doppleganger replacement.

Ixaxian has been observing the group for sometime and has learnt that one of the characters is keen to broaden his repetoire (the character wants to take the Assasin prestige class) and has been asking discreet questions to try and find out where he can get training.

Ixaxian has a contact with the Shadow Thieves (or some other shady group) and offers to introduce a potential new recruit on one condition, that they keep him busy and confined with his training until Ixaxian is ready. No doubt Ixaxian will owe this group some favour in return.

Meanwhile Ixaxian takes over as the PC with the player's knowledge that his real character is actually receiving training and is just unaware of the switch. This still requires that the player goes along with the ploy but I'm confident they will.

Saying all that it could change again, the group are only 1/2 way through 3FoE.

Deceased: Swift Water, Wild Elf, Scout 2
Adventure: 3 Faces of Evil
Catalyst: Lack of healing

In the lair of the Kenku our hero led the way scouting ahead. The party lacked a cleric and so was relying on the spirit shaman and the few potions of cure light wounds that had been found. As a result Swift Water was far from feeling his best.

As Swift Water rounded a corner a secret door opened and the Kenku boss got him with a cross bow hit. Fortunately Swift Water spotted the Kenku in time avoiding the sneak attack damage. It was still enough to drop him to the ground though. As his companions raced to the rescue the Kenku boss moved round the corner and threw a fireball bead landing ontop of our unconcious hero and injuring the rest of the party in the process.

Result, one crispy Wild Elf.

Eric Boyd wrote:

I expected it to be posted by this time. I'm hopeful it will be up soon.

I noticed that a Waterdeep web enhancement has gone up :-> ( but it doesn't contain any maps. Is there another one on the way ?

In reply to Takasi.

This is a good idea about running bits of the adventure backwards, thanks.

Just to clarify though as I never put it in my original post, the druids from the lodge had only committed to protecting the "Elven" cairns (in the Forgotten Realms the vast majority of these cairns belonged to the old Elven empire of Illefarn). That was the main reason for sending the Spirit Shaman along, to make sure that it wasn't an Elven cairn that was investigated. The party knew the tomb they were investigating belonged to a Genie.

I've just introduced the party to a couple of Tieflings from the mine who have sneaked out of a back way for quiet smoke (ok, I was working this one :-> ) and I suspect this will make them realise that they may have stepped into something bigger than they can handle.

I think the idea of focusing on Alastor Land is good though as it gives the Spirit Shaman a valid reason to go back to the cairn.

So I started running AoW on Sunday and I was kinda hopeful about the plot. Done plenty of reading up and was familiar with the background.

Enter the PCs. Not much background on the PCs, basically along the lines of "Wild Elf Druid" and "Human Rogue" were the backgrounds my players had bothered to tell me about in advance.

After the players changed their minds a bit, including 5 mins before we started playing, we ended up with the following cast.

Male Wild Elf Spirit Shaman - From the High Forest
Male Wild Elf Scout - Also from the High Forest
Female Uthgardt Human Barbarian - From the Sword Coast
Male Human Paladin from Tethyr
(as you might have guessed I'm playing in Forgottean Realms)

Now I know this has been mentioned before but for this story it needs mentioning again. The plot hooks for the first story suck. Basically the characters are supposed to hear about some other party investigating a cairn and suddenly "decide" to investigate the Whispering Cairn which all the locals say are empty. Discussions with 1 of players out of session led me to quite rightly believe that I would get a response of "Well bugger that, if it's empty why should we go ?".

Knowing my players and knowing how dogmatic they can be about things I knew this hook would never work.

So I changed some of the background it so that in my background the Druids at the lodge were all elven and they had taken responsibility to defend the last remaining cairns from desecration. Meanwhile however Delfen (Allustan) discovers information that a Genie cairn may exist. As he is friends with the leader of the druids he doesn't want to upset them so he asks for their assistance to ensure that his agents (the Paladin and the Barbarian) won't accicdentally violate the wrong tomb.

He then gathers the characters together at his house, explains the situtation and asks for them to go effectively on an archaelogical expedition obtaining drawings, rubbings and gathering any items they may find for which he would be willing to pay.

That plot hook at least got the characters together and headed in the direction of the cairn. And it seemed to be going ok.

The wolves were a good threat but the party survived. The found the lantern but did nothing with it. They then found the wind trap but stopped after getting a rubbing of the face.

Then they went home.....

When asked why they were leaving their explorations there I got various replies along the lines of how the characters didn't want to desecrate a Genie's tomb !!

This wasn't helped as the party all too dogamtically claimed that it was part of their characters. I.e. The Spirit Shaman didn't want to anger the spirits. The Scout was a friend of the Spirit Shaman and didn't want to upset him. The Paladin couldn't reconcile with himself that desecrating a tomb was somehow allowable.

The only one who showed any interest was the barbarian but was overuled by the rest of the group.

Now maybe I didn't help with my plot hook of choice but I just saw 90% of the adventure go down the drain.

Fortunately I had the second adventure with me. So the campaign hasn't been completely derailed. Delfen (Allustan) has a worm and gets the players involved again. Though being typical players they insisted on searching the hills looking for unkillable zombies rather than searching the mine which is where they were told the worm came from.

I certainly despair. Still the characters came out of the first session with just 560 exp each and are now in a much higher level adventure. Should be interesting.

In the Forgottean Realms version the plan is to merge remaining power of the dead gods, Bhaal, Myrkul and Bane ?

But Bane is back from the dead so to speak.

How does this affect Jergal's plan now ?

I expected it to be posted by this time. I'm hopeful it will be up soon.

My apologies,


Hi Eric,

I was wondering, if there is a chance you might be able to get permission to post the map from the Waterdeep Web Enhancement on the Pazio web site ?

I'm about to start the Age Of Worms campaign set in Forgotten Realms this Sunday and I bought the Waterdeep book specially. So it would be really handy to have at least the map, not necessarily the full web enhancement.



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